Rower's grandmother celebrates

00:25, Aug 06 2012

The proud Taihape grandmother of one of New Zealand's first gold medallists never doubted for a minute that he'd come home from the London Olympics wrapped in glory.

Taihape's Yvonne Hall is the grandmother of rower Joseph Sullivan, of Picton, who along with Nathan Cohen won gold in the double sculls in London on Friday night.

Mrs Hall watched the final with her daughter Christine Brown and husband Trevor.

“Christine, Trevor, and I were gathered round the television till they got to the last 400 metres. Then we were shouting and jumping up and down. I'm sure they heard us in London,” Mrs Hall said.

“I can't quite believe it.” Mrs Hall has followed Sullivan's entire career and, last year, went with Mrs Brown to the world championships at Karapiro where the pair also won gold.

Sullivan started rowing at school after a friend suggested he join the squad, she said.


"He was told he would never make a rower as he was too small, but my cousin's husband . . . watched him and said: ‘Keep going, you will make it', and look where he has got,” Mrs Hall said.

“At Karapiro, the family were up on that big spectator stand and all the Picton and Blenheim men were behind us. Of course everyone was on their feet and my word that stand shook.

"You really have to be there to feel how exciting it is. I've got great faith in the pair. They have determination, stamina and have done the hard yards.”

Mrs Hall took phone calls from wellwishers all Saturday morning, including one from her daughter in London.

Fairfax NZ