Olympic Gold Medallist receives honours degree from UP

Posted on April 12, 2013

The world saw Brittain and his teammates, John Smith, Sizwe Lawrence Ndlovu and James Thompson when they out-sprinted their competition and became the first African team to win an Olympic gold medal in London in August last year. Prof Cheryl de la Rey, UP’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, was one of the first to congratulate the team from TuksRowing for their success, dedication and commitment. They were subsequently recognised by others like the World Rowing Federation who named them World Rowing Male Crew of the Year for 2012. In October, the four were jointly named TuksSport’s 2012 Sportsman of the Year.

This week Brittain’s academic preparations bore fruit when he was part of UP’s Autumn Graduation Ceremonies. Prof De la Rey awarded Brittain his honours degree in Economics.

“The Olympic Gold and the degree are two very separate things, but I wanted both. The degree rounded off my undergraduate studies very well. It was a big challenge to study while preparing for the Olympics, but my lecturers were all very understanding and supportive,” Brittain said.

Brittain said that he has always been interested in “the money side of things” and how it makes the world go round. But the professional athlete who is still following a hectic training programme is not considering further postgraduate studies at the moment. “But who knows, maybe I will start with master’s degree later,” he said.

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