Win­ning, made easy

The WH guide to the Gold Coast 2018

Women's Health Australia - - APRIL 2018 - By Al­ice El­lis

In­spi­ra­tion alert: WH chats to the ris­ing stars of the Com­mon­wealth Games

In hon­our of Oz host­ing the Com­mon­wealth Games from April 4-15, we grill three im­pres­sive Aussie ath­letes for their ‘win at life’ tips – nick them to smash your own goals

HOW SHE WINS AT LIFE: Made­line Hills, ath­let­ics Run­ner Made­line Hills, 30, com­petes in the

3000m steeple­chase – ba­si­cally the coolest sport you’ve never watched. It’s an ob­sta­cle race where com­peti­tors have to jump fences, pools of wa­ter and other ob­struc­tions. De­spite hav­ing an eight-year break from sport, Hills placed fourth in the event at the Glas­gow 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games. Here’s how she con­queres even the trick­i­est ob­sta­cles… IT’S OK TO GIVE UP THINGS YOU USED TO LOVE

“I re­ally loved run­ning in high school [Hills rep­re­sented Oz in ju­nior world cham­pi­onships], but when I started to study phar­macy at uni, a lot of the con­nec­tions that had made it joy­ful were no longer there. I also had my first in­jury at 19, which gave me a forced break for two months. By the time I got the green light to run, the bur­den was greater than be­fore. I thought, ‘You’re good at this, so you should per­sist.’ But I had a light bulb mo­ment, think­ing, ‘Hang on, you’re not en­joy­ing this, so let’s just call it a day.’”


“I was pretty happy away from sport, [while] study­ing and trav­el­ling. But I made my way back with the sim­ple goal of en­joy­ing run­ning again. I went from do­ing a walk-jog to pick­ing a 10km fun run. I had a time goal, but it was some­thing I plucked out of thin air. I ended up com­ing third in the race. That feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion was the first step to find­ing joy for com­pet­ing again. I ran a cou­ple of fun runs, then I de­cided I was brave enough to stand on the track, and I re­ally wanted to go to the Glas­gow 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games. From my first track to be­ing se­lected for Glas­gow [at age 27] was only three months.”


“My come­back was able to hap­pen be­cause I didn’t have lofty goals. Ev­ery goal was re­al­is­tic: I just needed to run a few se­conds faster. That year, I made the Com­mon­wealth Games team. Dur­ing train­ing in the lead-up, it was like, ‘OK, let’s try to run five se­conds faster.’ When I did that, I re­alised I was start­ing to get within the top eight at the Comm Games. The day be­fore the Games, I sat down with my hus­band and my coach and we thought, ‘Jeez, we could maybe get a medal here; you’ve got to run the race of your life, but we’re not far off.’ I wasn’t far off, I came fourth.”


“If I’d fought through all those years of not lov­ing the sport, I wouldn’t have stuck it out for this long. So I think this was the only way for it to hap­pen, even though it doesn’t fol­low the nor­mal trend. In terms of ma­tu­rity and be­ing able to han­dle set­backs and chal­lenges, I’m more equipped to be able to han­dle that now than I was as a teenager.”


“Up un­til the Rio Olympics 2016, I was still work­ing in a re­tail phar­macy, and it gave me some­thing else to fo­cus on in the day. Par­tic­u­larly when there were chal­lenges – in sports, some­thing neg­a­tive could eas­ily con­sume your whole day. That just wasn’t an op­tion for me, be­cause I turned up to work and had to fo­cus on some­thing else.”

100,000 More than this many vis­i­tors will de­scend upon the Sun­shine State for the games – half from in­ter­state, half from O/S, plus 10,000 of­fi­cials and ath­letes. Get ready for crowds, Goldy!

HOW SHE WINS AT LIFE: An­nette Ed­mond­son, cy­cling An­nette Ed­mond­son, 26, races on the track and on the road. She won gold and sil­ver at the 2014 Comm Games and bronze at the 2012 Olympics. Here’s how she keeps that medal-win­ning men­tal­ity… ASK YOUR­SELF WHETHER THE JOUR­NEY WAS WORTH IT

“Af­ter the Rio Olympics, we were dis­ap­pointed – we’d gone in hop­ing to win and we’d come out with a fifth and an eighth [place]. It was a tough pe­riod be­cause when you’ve got so much self-be­lief and then things don’t turn out, it’s easy to think it was a waste of time. I was able to deal with it by ask­ing my­self whether the jour­ney was worth it. And when I thought back to the four years since the last Olympics – what I went through, the places I’d been, the peo­ple I’d met, the things I’d ex­pe­ri­enced – if I could do it all over again, I would in a heart­beat.”


“Af­ter Rio, I took time away from the sport to en­joy hol­i­days with friends and ex­plore new places. Then all of a sud­den you get to a point where you know what you want to do – you ei­ther take more time away or you’re ready to come back. I was ready to come back, so I put the hel­met on, started train­ing again and re­set my main goals. My cur­rent ma­jor goal is Tokyo.”


“Even though I have long-term goals, to get through each day of train­ing I bring it back to a daily fo­cus. I see each day as a step­ping stone. All you have to think about is just get­ting through this day – then it all doesn’t seem so over­whelm­ing. If you get through the hard parts then put your feet up at the end, that sat­is­fac­tion is mo­ti­vat­ing for the next day.”


“The track is a lot shorter in length – when I switch to cy­cling on the road, I have to be fo­cused for up to four-and-a-half hours. That’s what I strug­gled with the most over the first few years – be­ing able to pay

1100 Three hun­dred and fifty cam­eras are set to broad­cast this many hours of live sport. Catch the Comm Games on Chan­nel 7.

at­ten­tion for so long when you’re sur­rounded by bikes, pot­holes, wind changes and cor­ners. I was men­tally more drained than I was phys­i­cally. But, you slowly get bet­ter and bet­ter the more you do it, it just takes time. You need to train your fo­cus as well as your mus­cles.”


“Be­ing over­seas, so­cial me­dia was a great way for me to stay in touch with my friends, but then you start to fol­low more peo­ple. And I think when you start to fol­low too many peo­ple who you don’t know per­son­ally, it gets a bit out of con­trol – it be­comes a bit of a fake world be­cause peo­ple are only putting up the best things in their life, and you end up pay­ing too much at­ten­tion to that. So I’ve cut back and it’s given me more time and saved me a lot of men­tal en­ergy. I’m try­ing to put that back into spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends or tak­ing time out.”


“I’m an ex­tremely strong be­liever in re­cov­ery be­ing just as im­por­tant as ex­er­cise. I like to zone out – just chill out on the couch, put on some easy­watch­ing TV. I find go­ing down to the beach for a swim cleans­ing as well.”

HOW SHE WINS AT LIFE: Mari­afe Ar­ta­cho del So­lar, beach vol­ley­ball Mari­afe Ar­ta­cho del So­lar and team­mate Tali­qua Clancy won three con­sec­u­tive gold medals last year. They were un­de­feated in 16 matches and didn’t drop a set in 32. So, what makes her tick? TRUST­ING YOUR TEAM­MATE PAYS OFF

“Tali­qua and I only paired up for the first time in early Oc­to­ber 2017, so we didn’t ac­tu­ally have more than a month to train to­gether be­fore we had all that suc­cess. But I think what re­ally helped was just our trust and be­lief in each other – ‘I trust you that you’re go­ing to do your job, you trust me that I’m go­ing to do my job.’ That means you don’t have as many wor­ries and you can stay calm, com­posed and fo­cused on do­ing your job.”


“Tali­qua and I do spend a lot of time to­gether, but we have our own space – we’re not in each other’s grill 100 per cent of the time. We re­spect each other when we need space and time. We sep­a­rate work and life so that when we are to­gether, we ac­tu­ally en­joy each other’s com­pany.”


“I’m very close to my fam­ily, so I talk to them a lot. Mum and I talk a lot about mo­ti­va­tion and trust, and about the fact that things hap­pen when they’re meant to hap­pen. We’re very into the fact that it’s im­por­tant to have bal­ance be­tween body, soul, mind, spirit.”


“I have a ‘process fo­cus’. You have a goal, but you don’t fo­cus on the out­come and re­sults, you fo­cus on the jour­ney. You fin­ish one thing be­fore mov­ing on to the next one.”


“I’ve got my dream book where I write my goals, thoughts and in­spi­ra­tional quotes. I like, ‘If you be­lieve, you’re halfway there’. I love vi­su­al­is­ing, so if I have a goal I vi­su­alise my­self there al­ready – on top of the podium both wear­ing the green and gold.”


“Com­ing from the Rio Olympics and go­ing back to the bot­tom of the list was pretty hard for me [Ar­ta­cho del So­lar and then-part­ner Ni­cole Laird didn’t win a match], but you have to go back, look at the things that didn’t go well and work on them – that’s how to learn from ev­ery loss. Losses have made me so much stronger and more mo­ti­vated. I al­ways want to see where I can push my­self or how much bet­ter I can get, to just keep find­ing a bet­ter ver­sion of my­self. It’s hard not to be grate­ful that I went through what I went through, be­cause I wouldn’t be who I am to­day. I feel like I can deal with any­thing. I’m grate­ful for ev­ery chal­lenge as much as it’s so hard at the time and it feels like the end of the world. It’s there to make you stronger.”

300 This many para-sport ath­letes will com­pete at Gold Coast 2018, mak­ing it the largest para-sport pro­gram in Comm Games his­tory. Thirty-eight medal events will be held across seven sports – that’s 73 per cent more medals than the para-sport comp at Glas­gow 2014. Yew!

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