The new 400m Olympic champion and world record holder celebrated his medal with the words Jesus did it.
Wayde van Niekerk blew his rivals away with a time of 43.03 seconds, breaking Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old record to win a sensational Olympic final in Rio on Sunday night.
The South African youngster has already been hailed as a future legend with Johnson calling the race a “massacre”.
After the race he tweeted his thanks with the words “God is power”.
A committed Christian, van Nierkerk, took time to thank God on the track after the race. He told BBC Sport:
“I have dreamed of this since I was a little kid.
“The only thing I can do now is to give God praise. I went on my knees each and every day and I told the lord to take care of me and look after me every step.
“I asked the Lord to carry me through the race and I am really just blessed for this opportunity.”
He previously told sports media organisation Passion for Sport that “everything that comes my way I thank the Lord.” He said: “I leave every race and every step I take in his hands. I trust him in every movement I do.”
Speaking of the importance of his faith he said he values it because God “is the one who blessed me with talent”.
Van Niekerk streaked ahead in the final 80 metres to beat the London 2012 champion, Grenada’s Kirani James who took silver and American LaShawn Merritt in bronze.
Although he beat both James and Merritt in the World Championships in Beijing last year, he was not a favourite coming into the final having qualified with only the fifth fastest time.
But he stormed around the Rio track to take his first ever Olympic medal and become the first man to win an Olympic 400m title from the outside lane.
Johnson, who’s previous record was beaten by 0.15 seconds, drew comparisons with Usain Bolt, whose gold in the 100m final came half an hour after van Niekerk’s race.
“Van Niekerk is so young, what else can he do? Can he go under 43 seconds? It is something I thought I could do, but never did.
“Usain Bolt will be retiring soon, this could be the next star.”
Bolt interrupted his own celebrations to run and congratulate van Niekerk. The South African spent time training with Bolt and his coach in Jamaica.
Of the comparison van Nierkerk said: “I am grateful and blessed to be surrounded by such great sports people of my generation and I am just grateful to be where I am today.”