The South African coxless four team, Matthew Brittain, Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith and James Thompson shouted in triumph at winning the gold over Britain which took silver and Denmark which won bronze.
South Africa now has two Olympic gold medals.
The country’s rowing team was always in the running to win today after coming in second out of six boats in the second semifinal on Tuesday.
Coach Roger Barrow said the South African team was banking on a medal in today’s final but that they preferred not to shout too loudly beforehand.
“We are quite confident but we don’t really like people talking us up,” Barrow said. “That is why we are really quiet in going about our business.
“We believe we can be in the front, or definitely in the first three.”
The South African men’s lightweight four won silver at this year’s World Cup Regatta in Switzerland.