South Canterbury Olympians in 2021 – Lauren Bruce hammers her ticket to Tokyo
Lauren Bruce is “super horny” before shooting Silver Fern at the Tokyo Olympics in what will be the fairytale story of the Determined Athlete.
The 24-year-old is one of many athletes connected to South Canterbury who will represent New Zealand in Tokyo from July 23 during the postponement of Covid-19.
Bruce, who started throwing hammers while studying at Timaru, has been training in Athens, Georgia, USA for the past few weeks.
“I am super excited to be part of the Olympic team heading to Tokyo,” she said. The Timaru Herald Thursday.
“Representing New Zealand is very exciting for me. “
Bruce has been a versatile athlete, participating in a range of sports and events such as sprinting, gymnastics, shot put, discus and hammer throw.
Bruce started gymnastics at age eight and began athletics a few years later as a summer sport.
“I started athletics at the age of 8 and at 12 I started training in Timaru with my first trainer Ian Baird, who introduced me to hammer throws. He kind of encouraged me to try all sports. I tried hammers, and it’s caught my eye ever since, because I was really good at it.
However, with gymnastics being his year round sport and a national silver medal under his belt, Bruce had to deal with an injury at age 14, which paved the way for his athletic dreams.
The wound has changed direction
“Gymnastics was my priority and athletics was just my summer sport. During training I had back pain and an MRI found it to be a stress fracture.
“It was quite difficult because I was asked to take six months off and the return to gymnastics was difficult and my interest started to slowly wane.”
Bruce turned to athletics and never looked back.
The delay of the Olympics helped
She said Covid-19’s delay to the Olympics worked in her favor.
“I was on the qualifying list for Tokyo before Covid hit. But it was going to be a real boost to get there then. As soon as we found out that the Olympics had been postponed, we wanted to make it a positive result and we started training throughout the year.
“Having that extra year to prepare kind of worked in my favor.”
Bruce’s Olympic dreams gained momentum in September 2020 when he set a new Oceania hammer record of 73.47m.
Since then, she has thrown similar distances consistently.
“I threw somewhere near 74 last September, but they ended the Olympic qualifying period. So they didn’t officially qualify me for Tokyo, even though I was on the qualifying distance.
“I had to start over in December and got Olympic qualification and since then have thrown similar distances three to four times. But launching it in September was a record at the time. ”
Her Oceania record was then broken by her compatriot Kiwi Julia Ratcliffe with 73.55m.
However, on May 20, Bruce reclaimed the record with an effort of 74.61m in Tuscon, Arizona.
Bruce said preparations for Tokyo are going “very well” and that the five weeks in the United States are “just to get some competition”.
“The first two competitions went very well and we will be heading to Europe in a week.
“We still have a few competitions and we’ll know where we are before we head to the big stage (Tokyo).”
The pressure is on
Bruce emphasized the importance for an athlete to be mentally fit regardless of physical fitness in a world event.
“Obviously we have to stay in shape because a lot of strength is needed for the throwing distances. But as the level of competition increases from national to national and now internationally, there is a lot of pressure that we have to face.
“Going to Tokyo we will have qualifying rounds and only a limited number of pitchers will qualify for the final.
“There is pressure because it’s not just one competition, you have to start well and support it with good performances in the final. So there is pressure to throw as far as possible during the first three attempts, in order to reach the final and be in contention for the medals.
Bruce remembers how breaking a high school hammer throw record in Whanganui in 2014 sparked a fire in her to take her sport seriously.
“It was my last attempt and I did a PB (best personal best) because I had never thrown this far, which made me believe that I could continue and consider myself an international athlete in the long run. term ”.
Bruce wants to enjoy her moment and doesn’t want to cost what she might be able to accomplish.
“I don’t want to put a number. But I want to discover my maximum potential, reach it and enjoy playing. My future goal is the 80m and there is only one girl who did it (Anita Włodarczyk, 82.98m), who holds the world record.
Bruce’s hammer throw is unorthodox and one of a kind as she throws clockwise, like a left-hander despite being right-handed by birth.
This is a very rare sight as she competes in the shot put and discusses the throw as a right handed but does the hammer throw clockwise.
Bruce said she started with the counterclockwise spinning, but since she used to spin clockwise in her gymnastics, she gave it a try.
“I tried it on and it was comfortable. I spent a season pitching as a right-hander, to see how it goes. Since the right hand was the dominant hand in general, it didn’t make sense for me to throw it like a southpaw with hammers. But I was comfortable with the left. It is very rare that I do the other throws to the right and this to the left.
“It’s useful to be able to throw in both directions. I think it means I can figure things out a bit faster. It’s good to improvise and make technical changes that advance my game, ”said Bruce.