South African rower Lawrence Brittain, an Olympic silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Games, has resigned himself to a lifestyle adjustment as people deal with lockdown and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: BackpagePix
South African rower Lawrence Brittain, an Olympic silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Games, has resigned himself to a lifestyle adjustment as people deal with lockdown and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: BackpagePix

Brittain making lifestyle adjustment to deal with Covid-19 epidemic

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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South African rower Lawrence Brittain, an Olympic silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Games, has resigned himself to a lifestyle adjustment as people deal with lockdown and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The next three weeks are going to be quite an adjustment, but it is not something we can’t handle,” said Brittain, who a few years ago was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.

“We South Africans are good with dealing with adversity. I think it is another opportunity to play our cards right and get one step ahead of the rest of the world.”

In October 2014 when Brittain was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, doctors discovered that he had already been living with the condition for two years, but it had gone unnoticed. He was treated with six three-week cycles of chemotherapy and subsequently, the treatment proved successful.

After examining the test results, the doctor gave him a clean bill of health with a directive: “Now go out there and win some medals for South Africa”.

“For us, as South African athletes, things are still Ok,” said Brittain.

“We were still able to train, but our friends from other countries, the guys we compete against were struggling to do any training. Some are living in basements in horrible conditions.”

Brittain has appealed to South Africans to abide by the rules of the national lockdown and social distancing.

He also feels that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until next year is the right decision.

“I won’t lie; it was hard on us as athletes as we had put so much effort in to make sure we will be faster on the day of the Games,” said Brittain.

“But once we started discussing the coronavirus outbreak, we realised the world is in a crisis and things are going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

“That is why the postponement of the Games is the least of our problems.

“We need to get on top of the coronavirus and get things back to normal as quickly as possible. So please be strict with the lockdown.”

Brittain qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after he and John Smith partnered in the men’s pair last September at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria.

Brittain says that national rowing coach Roger Barrow has reworked training routines after the Olympic Games were moved out to 2021. Barrow has enjoyed huge success with SA teams in international competition and has been eyeing a medal haul at the next Olympics.

“Rogs (Barrow) immediately started planning the new season and is getting our training back to peak at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Brittain, adding that he is trying to minimise the effects of missing out on routine training.

“I am all set up at home. I got all my training equipment - Watt bike, ergometer and gym apparatus. So, I am sorted for the next few weeks.”

IOL Sport

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