Du Toit, who carried the South African flag in the opening ceremonies, hung with the lead pack much of the race, but she had a problem with her cap and couldn't keep up when the pace quickened toward the end of the two-hour ordeal. She finished 1 minute, 22.2 seconds behind Ilchenko, who out-sprinted two British swimmers who led most of the way.
Then again, du Toit's time of 2 hours, 49.9 seconds put her ahead of nine others, including 16-year-old American Chloe Sutton, who broke down in tears after finishing, every part of her body cramping and aching.
"I was swimming next to her and she beat me - and she has one leg," Sutton said. "It's incredible she was able to do that."
Ai, ek kry 'n knop in my keel elke keer as ek iets oor haar lees of hoor.... Enigiets oor Natalie of Oscar verslind ek. Hulle hoef nie eers "gewone" Olimpiese medaljes te kry nie, in my oë het hulle dit al klaar.
Daar moet eintlik spesiale toekennings wees vir sulke mense, wat weier om slagoffers te wees. Dit is 'n ontsaglike geestelike en emosionele oorwinning om nie 'n slagoffer te wees nie, om nie die "blame-game" te speel nie, en oor die innerlike krag te beskik om te weier om toe te laat dat enige belemmering mens terughou....
Staande applous vir Natalie du Toit asseblief!