Olympic Champion, Ryk Neethling, announced as CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa.
A friend and fellow South African swimmer to Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, Ryk Neethling, has been appointed CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa, a prestigious voluntary position in South Africa’s charitable sector.
“Ryk is a true champion – a man of integrity, talent and remarkable inner strength,” commented Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene (formerly Charlene Wittstock). “He is passionate about water safety and will, I know, take my Foundation from strength to strength in South Africa,” continued the Princess.
Ryk Neethling is one of the most accomplished swimmers in history. An Olympic Gold Medallist and the first South African athlete to represent his country in four consecutive Olympic Games, he also holds the title of three-times World Champion and four-times World Record Breaker.
Following his retirement from swimming, Ryk’s successful business career started with the launch of the Ryk Neethling Swimming Schools franchise in 2008 before he moved to the elite Val de Vie Estate in the Western Cape where he is both a Shareholder and the Marketing Director.
Since 2016, Ryk has served as an Ambassador to the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation alongside Francois Pienaar and Terence Parkin in South Africa. He is also actively involved in the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and is an Ambassador for Hope Through Action.
On 4 June 2017, Ryk Neethling and Percy Montgomery won the Riviera Water Bike Challenge in aid of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. This 21km ProAm relay race from Nice to Monaco on water bikes was the first race of its kind in the world and raised the funds to build an aquatic rescue centre in Burkina Faso, a project organized in partnership with the Monaco Red Cross and the Burkinabe Red Cross.
“Ryk is certainly one of the greatest swimmers this country has seen and he is keen to use his influence as an athlete to inspire young people and uplift communities. We are all thrilled that he has chosen to take on this new role – he is the right man for the job,” remarked Mr Gavin Varejes, businessman and President of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA..
Reflecting on his appointment, Ryk Neethling explained, “Since my swimming career started at the age of five after a near-drowning incident, I have shared the same passion for water safety as Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene. Twenty-five years ago, we both began representing South Africa at international swimming competitions, and it is an incredible honour for me to now be entrusted with the task of leading her Foundation here in our country.”