The Morning Crew
Early start can’t stop shot-putter
OTTAWA — The alarm went off early for Brittany Crew’s shot put event Sunday morning.
But Crew’s body clock is well-prepped to throw at any time of day or night, thanks to the mock competition work she’s done with coach Richard Parkinson.
The 24-year-old from Toronto, who made history last summer as the first Canadian woman to throw in a world shot put final — she finished sixth — added another national title to her resume on Sunday morning. Crew’s winning throw of 18.27 metres at Terry Fox Stadium was over a metre better than the rest of the field.
Crew described, with a laugh, the bleary-eyed work she and Parkinson first did to get Crew acclimatized for morning competition. It began before the 2016 Rio Olympics, where qualifying was in the morning and the finals at night.
“First time I did it, at 10 a.m., I was in tears, because I don’t get up early. He made me get up at 5:30,” Crew said.
To mimic the competition format, she’d throw three times beginning at 10 a.m., with 10-minute intervals between each throw.
“It’s about getting the body acclimatized, especially if you’re not a morning person, let’s get you used to waking up, getting your clock and your rhythms all ready for that time,” Parkinson said. “By the time that first qualifying practice was over, she was crying. It was awful. She said ‘I hate mornings!’ But I have a graph that shows that it got steadily better the more we did it.”
He did the same to acclimatize throwers Trinity Tutti and Grace Tennant, who are in Finland to compete at the world junior championships.
“I had them drive in from Welland. I said ‘First throw is at 10 a.m.’ I gave them three throws with 10-minute intervals in between, so they’re standing around, having them wait. Because what’s that wait like? And then because the shot put final’s at night, I said ‘See you later!’
“They said ‘What are we going to do for the next six hours?’ ‘I dunno, you tell me. What are you going to do in Finland?”
Crew, Tutti and Tennant are part of a throws powerhouse in the making at Athletics Canada’s East Hub based at York University. Parkinson has about 15 throwers in his group. At the recent Ontario high school (OFSAA) championships, Tutti broke Crew’s Canadian interscholastic shot put record, and broke a 32-year-old interscholastic discus record.
Crew’s victory was also a rare chance for her mom Kimberley to see her compete in a big meet. Crew’s younger brother Luke is autistic, and so can’t attend meets with big, noisy crowds.
“It’s nice for mom to have a break and come here and just focus on me, because for the past five years it’s been all about him. She’s happy to be able to get away,” Crew said.
Brittany Crew participates in the senior women’s shot put at the Canadian track and field championship in Ottawa yesterday.