South African Rower Beats Cancer and Wins Team SA Third Rio 2016 Olympic Medal

Team South Africa just picked up its third medal of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

We’re less than a week in, and Team South Africa just picked up its third medal of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Rowers Lawrence Brittain, 26, and Shaun Keeling, 29, took home silver in the men’s pair this afternoon with a time of 7:02.51, beating out the third-place Italian pair by just over two seconds. New Zealand came in first with a time of 6:59.71.


Brittain’s road to Rio was bumpy, albeit insanely inspiring, to say the least. In October 2014 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’d been living with the condition for two years before undergoing six three-week cycles of chemotherapy. In February 2015, he completed his final chemo session. From then on, his focus was back to rowing.

To say Brittain’s kicked cancer in the ass is an understatement. Less than 18 months since his last dose of chemo, he’s an Olympic medalist.

Brittain and Keeling’s showing brings South Africa’s Olympic medal tally to three. Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh picked up SA’s first medal of Rio 2016 on Sunday when he placed second in the men’s 100m breaststroke. The following day, Chad Le Clos earned his third-career Olympic medal with a second-place finish in the men’s 200m freestyle.

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