Ticket booked to Rio

It’s now been two weeks since the athletics Rio Team announcement, with 28 athletes, including myself, receiving our Olympic boarding passes/our ticket to Rio. The reality of being selected on the team is still sinking in, and there are moments when I think about competing in Rio that I still get butterflies in my stomach. 

I was a little bit surprised to be selected in the first round, because for the past month I have been managing an injury. My injury saw me miss out on the back end of the domestic season, as well as the Australian National Championships. 

Being an elite athlete comes with its highs and lows, and one of those lows is being injured. The fact that it is in an Olympic year can sometimes skew perspective and make that low seem so much worse. The truth is, I allowed myself to be upset, but I didn’t allow myself to get stuck in that low.  

Due to my injury my initial preparation plan for Rio was altered but after sitting down with my coach and my team at the AIS we were able to reassess and put together a new one. However, having now being selected, it offers me peace of mind that I have the time I need to heal properly before I get back into throwing.  It gives me confidence that I’ll be ready for Rio. Because I don’t just want to be a participant in the Olympic Games, I want to fight for a medal. 

So yes, the past month of training has been different, but I have still been able to train, which is a huge plus! How I have tried to approach this bump in the road is to look at what training I am able to do during this time that would otherwise be prioritized with throwing. The big one for me is shoulder strength. I’ve been able to specifically load my shoulders in the gym, where as normally that load would come from throwing. There have also been some new, fun exercises added to my gym program, and the stationary bike and I have become close friends. (Before you know it I’m going to have killer quads!) One of the key things for me during this period of modified training was to stay motivated. Not allow myself to just go through the motions and tick boxes, but to recognise that what I am doing will help build a stronger me, and transfer to my throwing when I get back into it.

Another aspect of training and preparation I’ve been able to tap into is mental imagery. 

I am a huge fan, and believer of mental imagery. I often use it to rehearse my throws, start to finish, in stadiums, with as much atmosphere as I can imagine, so, generally speaking it is more competition specific. However, in the past month I have been able to explore another aspect of mental imagery, which is orientated around healing imagery. I’ve had discussions with my doctor and physio around the specifics of my injury as well as researched what my body is doing to heal itself.  With this information, in detail I am able to create a scenario where I heal that same area. For me, it is sometimes workers building a house, other times it is the specific cells of my body re-modeling the injured site. 

The current update is that I am mending well and things are currently on track!

You will certainly be hearing more from me as I prep towards Europe and the Olympics!!


Kelsey-Lee Barber