Herne Bay rower Dan Ritchie reveals he is putting heart scare behind him to continue road to Rio 2016
by Alex Hoad
GB Rower Dan Ritchie revealed
he was "petrified" he was going to die during a heart scare but has
now recovered enough to resume his journey to Rio 2016.
The 26-year-old Herne Bay
star suffered a suspected heart attack and went as far as sending a
text to his wife telling her he loved her, but five months on, he
is back on the water and in the plans of GB rowing chiefs as they
seek to follow the success of London 2012.
While it may have been
fantastic year for British sport, 2012 was the worst of Ritchie’s
A serious knee injury in
April robbed Ritchie (pictured right) of his place in the GB men’s
eight at the home Olympics and although he was married later in the
summer, the year finished with his collapse and then the
sudden death of his younger brother Aaron in December.
The former Herne Bay High
pupil admitted: "I couldn’t be happier to see the back of 2012. It
was a bad year from start to finish, with injuries, the Olympics,
losing my brother, the heart – my wedding was about the only good
thing that happened all year.
"My little brother passing
away is just one of a number of things which gives me motivation to
continue toward Rio."
He added: "I intend to carry
on for the next four years and then maybe to 2020 too. I’m not 40,
I’m 26. It all depends on what happens. My wife has told me to
retire if I get another injury but I can’t think about that right
"The Olympics stir up a lot
of emotions for me. A lot of the guys have London 2012 kit-bags and
it can be hard to look at them.
"I want to compete at an
Olympics but I am just desperate to prove myself, to prove that I
am better than what I have done so far."
Ritchie – who learned his
trade at Herne Bay Coastal RC – suffered a suspected heart attack
at home in September just days after getting married.
He said: "I was petrified I was going to die. All I could
do was to text my wife to tell her I loved her.
"She came home and found me
and I was grateful to wake up in hospital."
Ritchie has undergone an
electrocardiogram and a series of tests through Cardiac Risk in the
Young and added: "I’ve been tested relentlessly but there’s no real
answer as to what caused it. It may have been stress and
suppressing the emotions of the past year.
"I don’t dwell on it. When I
went back into the boat for the first time I was aware that every
stroke could be my last.
"I don’t want to be wrapped
in cotton wool. Of course people were worried but this is what I do
and I do what I do because I love it."
The former GB swimmer has
twice won silver medals at rowing World Championships in the eight
and was selected in the same boat for the opening World Cup meeting
of the year in Sydney next month.
He and crew-mate Tom Ransley
of Ashford (pictured below) - a bronze medallist at London 2012
- jetted out this week and Ritchie added: "I’ve got unfinished
business in the eight."
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