We’ve been glued to our TV screens, watching all the highs, lows, battles and triumphs of the Olympics. Danielle Brittain is someone who has first-hand knowledge of what it takes to be there, and has just released her book – Warriors.
What does it take to win at the Olympic Games? How many years of hard work and dedication does it take to prepare for such a feat? How many disappointments do you have to endure on this journey?
Dr Danielle Brittain has walked this journey, over and over again. Her husband and all four of her sons have rowed at top levels, and two sons have won Olympic medals for South Africa. And she is currently in Toyko as one of the team doctor’s for the South African Rowing Squad Olympic team.
Danielle, who became the team doctor in 2011 and works full time with the national team, has had her own battle with cancer, and then had to watch her son, Lawrence Brittain, battle Hodgkin lymphoma during his Olympic training, to overcome it and, after his recovery, go on to win the silver in 2016, Lawrence is rowing in the Olympics in the men’s heavyweight four this year.
The Olympic wins for the South African teams at the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics were iconic moments for South Africa, and Danielle’s descriptions of what the wins meant for the individuals in the teams, their families, the coaching staff and ordinary South Africans demonstrates the power of sport to unite the country.
This is a warrior’s story … a rowing story, a family story, a cancer survival story, a South African story. And the story of a mother watching it all unfold.
Daniella lives in Pretoria, and her novel, Warriors – an epic battle for Olympic rowing victory, costs R340.