Great Britain Olympic hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon is not only the current British record holder at this event but has also picked up a host of medals in her sport.
Sophie is one of very few sports people who haven’t been to badly hit by the lockdown.
“I’ve been lucky in a sense as I’ve been in the states for about two months at the beginning of lockdown and had to return top the UK which was a little bit of a stressful time for me in travelling back and not knowing what was happening around there, but currently I’m at my parents house in Lancashire, and I’ve been able to train thankfully and Burnley Athletic Club have allowed me to use the track which is something I’m so grateful for, and other than that it’s not been to different for me with my weight training in the back garden.” she said.
When the news broke that this years Olympics would have to be cancelled, Sophie had a feeling that that would be the decision.
“I definitely wasn’t surprised by that decision when it did come out.” she said.”Really they could of come out with that a little bit sooner so we athletes kind of knew what was going on and we could plan for that and I can definitely see from their end why they waited to see what was going on and from me ultimately I think world health is more important than sport at this time and I think when we do get back to it, whichever Olympics is next, we will really be able to celebrate then.”
Sophie picked up a bronze medal at Rio 2016, and will always remember the day forever.
“It was amazing. It seems long ago now. It was amazing at the time. I said before I was training really well going into it and I was confident that the competition would go well, and we were all really pleased with the outcome.” she said.
She also realised how lucky she was to come home with a medal.
“Some of the great athletes that I have looked up to have never come away with an Olympic medal and to have one and know that we have worked really hard for that is really special.” she added.
Sophie got involved in athletics thanks to her sporting family.
“My family were always involved in athletics track and field and they took me down to a local club when I was younger, and I started off doing shot put and sprints and a whole lot of events. The way the system works here is that there are leagues in the UK and you earn points for your club for each event that you do, so if a club doesn’t have anyone to throw the hammer you will probably get in just to get a point just for the club and I think a lot of athletes get into events that way.” she said.
400m runner Salwa Eid Naser recently missed three drugs tests before running the fastest time in the world. Sophie along with a lot of other athletes feel dismayed about this.
“It’s a difficult one to kind of understand because the quote that she made of it saying that it was normal for athletes to miss three tests was the shocking thing for me because it puts everyone in one boat, and for me and everybody else on the testing register it’s not normal to miss three tests. Obviously, I’m not saying that everyone is perfect and you miss one test, but once you miss one test you make sure you are there or you change your whereabouts. But for me it’s more about how it was dealt with after that and how it wasn’t picked up by the testing register and the athletes integrity unit and other people that missed it need to be held accountable now for that and give some explanation of why it didn’t work and give confidence back to the athletes.” she said.
Interview with Sophie Hitchon