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Up Close with Olympian Dieter Rosslee

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Today I would like to honour one SA’s brilliant young rowing stars –  Dieter Rosslee. He was proudly part of Team SA at this year’s Rio Paralympics as part of the LTA Mixed Cox 4 Rowing Team. They have done brilliantly leading up to Rio.Even in Rio their fight and resilience was amazing, he explains it below.

Of course this type of excellence does not happen in isolation and without brilliant coaching. The other members are Lucy Perold, Sandra Khumalo, Shannon Murray  Dylan Trollope, Dieter Rosslee, Willie Morgan (Coxwain). They train under the watchful, loving  eye of Coach Marco Galeone.

About himself he says “Passionate, Adventurous, Caring. I keep to myself when it comes to everyday life. I hate making things inconvenient for others . I would rather struggle on my own and get frustrated than ask for help“. 


Athlete: Bio / Stats

Name & Surname Dieter Rosslee
Nick Name Diets
Date of birth 12 June 1995
Place of birth Alberton
Current City Alberton
Height 187cm
Weight 83kg
Shoe Size 10/11
Club University of Johannesburg Rowing Club
Coach’s Name Marco Galeone
Out of Country events/ meets (most recent) 2016- (April) Gavirate(Italy) International Para Rowing Regatta

(June) Poznan (Poland) World Cup 3

Favorite City St Lucia … but Out of Country=Amsterdam…
Favorite Song/ type of music Any good music (not pop)
Favorite Movie The Godfather
Tertiary Inst Name/ Year University of Johannesburg/ 1st year academically , 3rd year historically
Tertiary degree/ diploma BSc (Science) Physics
Sponsors None
Twitter and Instagram names, facebook name dieter_rosslee (Instagram). Dieter Rosslee (facebook)
Parents Names, siblings Diederick(father), Delouise(mother),

Dialise(sister), Dalita(sister), Dian(brother)



Before Olympics:

Q: Firstly congrats on qualifying for Rio Olympics ! What is on your heart and mind right now concerning this qualification?

Thank you, first our main goal was to qualify the boat for the Rio games. After this the focus was to stay in the boat that would go on to compete at The Games. Now I am aiming for a medal position at the Paralympics.

After Olympics:

Once we got there the vibe was amazing. We didn’t really explore the village that much before competition, we just knew of the places we had to be most.

The dining hall was massive , I’ve never seen so much food, cold drinks and people in one place.
Our venue was exceptional as well to be rowing on the water and seeing Christ the Redeemer… Wow. Not everyone can say they saw him everyday for 2 weeks.

Things were going pretty well for us with last minute preparations. The night before racing the nerves started to kick in , I could handle it quite well as we have done a lot of international races over the years…. Although it was a greater deal …this was it … What we have been working for .

We were mentally prepared for the racing and knew what we had to do in the heat in Friday. Although it didn’t work out as we wanted to , we were still satisfied with our performance.

On the Saturday we had to race the Repechage … It was one of the toughest races I’ve done other than the final… Because that race was the decider for the A-final. My nerves were crazy. We had the tougher Repechage … We had to come at least 2nd , the fight for second place was between us and Australia right til the end. They were ahead of us for the first 750m and then we just passed them the last bit… The leg burn was real .
But the reward was great… The first African team to have made a Paralympic Rowing A-final…

The Sunday was the big race … We were up against all the Giants… Conditions weren’t great at all… But this is what we trained for in SA… We were familiar with the conditions. Unfortunately the other crews were just faster … And we came 5th… We are still happy with our performance.

The country itself was amazing after racing was done we had a lot of time to do some sight seeing.

I would definitely want to do another Paralympics!


Q: You are one of SA’s top athletes, passionate and doing so well in your Rowing tell me a little bit about how you started in rowing and your journey in the rowing arena up to now?

Well, I have also been encouraged by my parents to be active, since I had the accident at the age of 5. So I tried athletics and I played field hockey for a while in Primary school and High school. Then I think in 2010 someone told me to go for Para Rowing Classifications, and my parents told me I should at least just see what it is. The classifiers then told me that I am eligible to row in the LTA category, and that I had a lot of potential in the sport because of my body structure. During my learning period of rowing , I only rowed in a single for about two years . I then started training with the SA Para Rowing squad of that time. In 2013 Coach Marco Galeone approached me and said that I will have to train in the boat combination that will go on to compete at the 2013 World Rowing Championships. As a young boy I was quite scared and nervous , but with the support from my team, coach and of course my family I was able to get to the standard the expected from me in a short period of time and here we went on to obtain the Bronze. Since then I have competed internationally every year – 2014 Gavirate International Para Rowing Regatta , 2014 Word Rowing Champs, Amsterdam , 2015 Gavirate International Para Rowing Regatta, 2015 World Rowing Championships, France.


Q: Why do you have such deep seated respect for your coach?

My coach Marco Galeone has so much knowledge with rowing, as he has been around rowing for a very long time. He like my second father, he cares for us in more ways than one can think a coach does. He invests so much of his time for us, to make us succeed in rowing, and life.

Q: What do you do to relax?

I listen to music, watch series or movies and spend time with my family

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

“Never be ashamed of a scar. It means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you”


Q: What is your definition of greatness?

Living life to the fullest

Q: What’s your WHY ?  

Basically to show that nothing is impossible. To encourage young even elderly people that no matter how many times life knocks you down, shake it off and keep on going.

Q: One thing about you that the world does not know J

I sometimes take off my prosthetic leg at parties dance with it in my hand (in the air). And I can be quite the charmer.


Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!



NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email info@heslopsports.co.za with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.

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