SA’S ROWING OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLISTS TO GREET THEIR FANS AT JOHANNESBURG BOAT SHOW THIS SATURDAY (AUGUST 25)
South Africa’s Gold Medallists in the 2012 Summer Olympics will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs at the
, which is being held this weekend at the Nasrec Expo Centre, from Friday August 24 to Sunday August 25.
The Olympic Champion gold medallists will be at the show officially from 2 pm, according to David Ingram, of the Gauteng Rowing Association.
The team is still re-living that golden moment on August 2 in Dorney, England, when they crossed the line first, beating Britain to win Gold in the Men’s Lightweight Four rowing Olympics. The South African squad came from behind, to pass Denmark, and then England to win by just 0,25 seconds.
“We knew we’d won probably about a second after we crossed the line, as the result flashed up on the giant scoreboard, said one of the four SA Gold medallists, Cape Town-born James Thompson.
“It was such an unbelievable rush of adrenalin, indescribable really. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”
Sizwe Lawrence Ndlovu, who grew up in KZN, said that a major element of the team’s success was their total trust and commitment to each other.
“Every day after training, we used to chant: ‘Gold, Gold Gold’. And that’s what we did. We won Gold. But two month before, racing against the same crews at the World Cup in Switzerland, we won silver. That’s when we became quietly confident we would beat the favourites to the finish line.”
That message of focus and commitment to a goal is shared by the other two members of the team, John Smith, and Mathew Brittain, who will also be on hand at the Boat Show, with their Gold Medals, to chat with fellow water-sport fans.
“We are excited about this opportunity, because it gives us the opportunity to interact with the boating community at large. Rowing is quite a niche sport, although it is popular in schools. But a lot of the guys tend to move onto other sports when they leave school,” said James Thompson.
At the Olympics, one of the most excited supporters of the millions who watched at the South African team score an upset victory, was Paulo Cavalieri, Chairman of Etana Insurance, the company that has supported rowing for many years.
He says “At Etana we are thrilled with this terrific victory which has catapulted rowing into the limelight. We owe a debt to these guys – Sizwe Lawrence, James, John and Matthew. They have lived and trained together 24/7 for the last year and have shown us what the right mind set can achieve.”
Cavalieri is well known as an expert racing driver who competes at Kyalami in a classic 1960 Ferrari 250 SWB. But few people know he was a member of the South African Olympian Rowing team that took part in the Games in Barcelona in 1990.
James Thompson said he was hoping there would be many youngsters at the Johannesburg Boat Show on Saturday, to take advantage of a special autograph session with the Olympic team.
“Kids need to get involved, in fact not just kids, adults too, and take up sport because it is so positive. It’s no good looking for reasons why you may not do well. Just get stuck in and enjoy it.”