Chill out! Mum’s got this
Winter Olympics golden girl Alisa Camplin tells ANNA BRAIN how she’ll juggle motherhood with TV duty to bring viewers the best of the Winter Olympics
WHILE Aussie athletes hurl themselves off frozen mountains in pursuit of Olympic glory, aerial champ Alisa Camplin is undertaking her own extreme event, juggling her role as special commentator for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games and three-month-old baby Florence.
At her photo shoot, Camplin performs a quick change, feeds Florence and inhales some lunch over an interview for her first media gig since the birth.
“I’m doing my research and reading whilst feeding,” she says.
“It’s actually a nice reprieve for me to be thinking about sport because I do ‘baby’ all day.”
The Winter Olympics are a cool reprieve from long days spent staring at blue tennis courts and the green grass of cricket.
They’re more scenic than their summer equivalent, but that’s only half the appeal for this former Olympian.
“Every sport has an element of danger, that’s what makes the Winter Olympics so cool,” says Camplin. “If you fall, you hurt yourself.”
She should know. In addition to earning Olympic gold and bronze medals in her sporting career, Camplin copped a broken collarbone, busted hand, separated shoulder, fractured ankles, torn Achilles tendon and had a knee reconstruction and several concussions.
So she’s happy watching from the relative safety of the studio in Melbourne, while Australia’s hopefuls, including Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, Lydia Lassila and Torah Bright, head to Russia.
“I was really comfortable when I closed the door on my own sporting career,” she says. “I was 31 and I was eager to invest in my career and my relationship before becoming a mum, so I felt really satisfied when I finished. When I did the commentary in 2010 (Vancouver) it was almost as exhilarating as being part of it. I get quite emotional watching now. I really feel the highs and lows, whereas as an athlete I was very tempered – so controlled. It’s almost like the world was monochrome then and now it’s colour.”
It’s more than a decade since Camplin won her first Olympic medal in Salt Lake City. These days, athletes face fresh challenges and distractions, such as social media. Camplin says athletes should question their motivation for staying online at a time when all their concentration is needed. “Personally, I would
rather minimise the uncontrollable (elements), and Twitter invites the uncontrollable,” she says.
Security is the other spectre hanging over the Games. Despite an unprecedented spend by the Russian government, the situation is being monitored after bombings in nearby Volgograd and threats to target the Games.
Snowboarder Torah Bright has said if she has any security concerns, she will pull the pin. But Camplin trusts the AOC’s judgment.
“I think it’s each to their own,” she says. “Torah’s been to an Olympics and won an Olympic gold medal. Some of these other athletes, it’s their first Olympics. Chumpy Pullin, he’s so desperate to get that gold medal; it’s the only thing he hasn’t got yet.
“People will prioritise things based on where they are in their own life.”
Although Camplin’s attention is focused on Olympics duty, she is not letting her other commitments slide. She and husband Oliver Warner set a hefty fundraising goal of $75,000 by March this year, for Finnan’s Gift – a fund commemorating their son, who died of a congenital heart condition at only 10 days old in 2011.
“It’s going really well; we’re almost at $60,000,” Camplin says.
“I can see we might get there. It’s a big year for us, with Florence. Every time we look at her we’re reminded of how special little babies are. How amazing it is to have her at home with us.”
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Golden team: Alisa Camplin with fellow Winter Olympics commentator Steve Bradbury.