Words by Matthew Glaetzer
I was that sporty kid at school who was good at any sport I tried. I don’t say this to build myself up at all, sport has just always been my thing. Through school (Torrens Valley Christian School) I became involved in athletics and at the age of 14 I represented South Australia at Pole Vault. With a jump of 3.05m I came away with a silver medal at the National Championships and was loving life.
This soon came crashing down though when I was plagued with injuries stemming from growth spurts. I kept straining my hamstrings and I developed Osgood-Shlatter disease which hurt my knees so much I had to give up competitive sport altogether.
After two years of struggling to cope with not doing any sport, my English teacher Mrs Robertson recommended me try the annual event Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon. As soon as I started the bike leg and began to overtake quite a few competitors, I knew I had found a sport that I could do. From that moment I joined a club, started racing and improved VERY quickly.
After six months I won a silver medal at the National Championships, a year later I represented Australia at the Junior World Championships. The following year I won two Junior World Titles which earned me a spot in the Australian senior sprint squad.
In October 2019 I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer and had to put things on hold to fight that. Once recovered from the surgery and treatment, a torn calf, oblique and a bulging disc in my neck were to follow. It was a very challenging 12 months that I had to overcome. Despite all of this happening, I was able to make the Olympic team for the third time and came 4th in the Team Sprint, and made my first Olympic Keirin final!