‘Believe!’ That’s the word that was used between Team SA’s men’s rowing pair silver medallists Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling as they motivated themselves in the final at the Rio Olympics four years ago.
The South Africans had to come from fourth position during the final to finish second behind New Zealanders Eric Murray and Hamish Bold as they earned one of the 10 medals that TeamSA secured at Rio 2016.
In the next of our #FlashbackToInspire2020 campaign, the pair are expertly interviewed by Brittain’s brother, Matthew, himself a gold medallist from London 2012. If he’s looking to head into broadcasting, he’s a natural!
Among the revelations were:
The guys hardly slept the night before the final.
Shaun knew Lawrence was extremely nervous because he always talks and he was dead quiet as they were loading their boats.
Coach Roger Barrow looked calm before the race and they were so happy that he looked calm but they only found out after the race that as soon as they hit the water Roger turned away and threw up from nerves.
Lawrence only said one word to Shaun at the start of the race and that was ‘Believe’ and Shaun knew they just had to believe they could do it – just as Lawrence had believed he could fight the leukemia he had beaten 18 months earlier.
It was 18 months since Lawrence’s last chemo treatment until the day he stood on the Olympic podium.
They also spoke about the hard work it takes, including training on Christmas Days and just pushing to be the best.
To view the inspiring conversation, click on the below link to open it in YouTube: