Liz Gleadle, who has nearly clinched a spot to represent Canada’s hopes in Javelin in the London 2012 Olympics, is a pretty amazing Vancouverite.
This past Sunday, Gleadle – who is currently enrolled at UBC – threw her javelin 61.15m, establishing a new Canadian record.
VanCity Buzz caught up with her on campus.
VCB: The ubiquitous Vancouver question: Where are you from?
Liz Gleadle: I’m from Kerrisdale. I live really close to Mackenzie Heights – just down the street.
VCB: What is the life of an Olympic athlete like?
LG: Everybody thinks I’m so busy with everything. The truth is, I nap, I eat a lot, and then I lift, and I throw. That’s pretty much all I do. And I took this year off so that I can spend more time on the couch. All you do is eat-sleep-train, and that’s what you have to do. If you’re always on your feet, you’re not getting any recovery.
VCB: Why Javelin?
LG: I just picked up a javelin in grade eight gym class and my throw went two metres further than everybody else’s. It just kind of went from there. I didn’t start throwing javelin because I loved it; I loved it because I was good at it. The better I get, the more I love it. I played tons of sports when I was younger, and I was decent at all of them – and then I started throwing javelin. The first season I actually gave it more time, I went to provincials for my age group and I won, then went to nationals and won that. I joined a track club after that and, the next year, I was off to Worlds for the youth competition.
VCB: You just set a Canadian record with your throw of 61.15m this past Sunday. How does it feel, at 23, to have your name in the record books?
LG: I didn’t really think of it like that! I don’t know, it’s kind of crazy. I guess a lot of athletes peak at around this age. That’s also a really nice thing about track and field – the world champion, two years ago, she was 38 years old – and she threw 68 metres. So I’d like to get there eventually, and I don’t think it’s really hit me yet.
VCB: What do you do when you’re not busy setting records in Javelin?
LG: Right now I’m reading a couple of books, and I go for coffee a lot with my friends. I love Pac-Man. I don’t know why. It’s great. It’s hilarious. I hang out with my roommate a lot, and we’re just total dorks. Pretty relaxing life.
VCB: What’s your dream job?
LG: Exactly what I’m doing right now. You can really support yourself through sponsorships. If you go to meets, you can get invitations, and appearance fees. It really is enough to make a job out of it.
VCB: What do you love about Vancouver?
LG: When I wasn’t living here, I missed Vancouver so much. I make a point of going to the beach once a week; I don’t care if it’s pissing rain. Drinking a coffee, laying on the beach, and just enjoying it. You get off the plane [at YVR] after landing from wherever and you breathe in the air…I love it. I love the rain, too.
VCB: How are you preparing yourself to represent your country and your city on the world stage?
LG: You’ve just got to do the same things you do every day. I’ve been training this whole year. You’ve got to be ready for a big crowd, people from the media – you’ve got to be prepared and focused. Week one of the Olympics is going to be done and I’m going to be sitting there while everyone else is partying, trying to maintain focus because I’m week two. I know that I’ll have more fun than them if I do well, and I have to do what I came here to do – potentially throw another Canadian record at the Olympics.
VCB: Any words of wisdom for the aspiring Olympian?
LG: If you train harder than anybody else, you’ll be better than anybody else.
Don’t forget to check out Liz on Twitter (@lgJavelin) and cheer her on towards London!