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One year on from the London Games I asked Team 776BC to write a few paragraphs about the challenges they’ve faced during the post Olympic/ Paralympic year. As an elite athlete myself, I know from experience that challenges arise mentally, emotionally and physically after the buzz the year before. Here’s London Gold and Silver Medalist Kelly Cartwright’s insight into the year after the Games.
Off the back of my successful campaign in London I decided to take a small break and get back into things on the track as soon as possible, but unfortunately as most athletes know with sport comes injury and in December 2012 I was forced to have an ankle operation that would put me out of action for 4 months. I knew it was going to be tough but I have also been in this situation before and went into it knowing there was light at the end of tunnel. I also knew if I was going to have an injury this was the year. Having my only ankle operated on proved challenging as I had to find ways to use crutches and off load as much as possible. I was back in the gym working on things (mainly my upper body) and swimming as quickly as I could. I have to say I have never done so many bicep curls in my life. I was back on the track in April with IPC World Championships in sight, which was mid July. I knew if I was to go and be ready I had to train as hard as I could and not cut any corners, this ended up quite challenging as my ankle was not quite up to the heavy load I needed to be back to my normal fitness. It was like taking one step forward three steps back. My coach Tim Mathews and I did all we could, modifying here and there and just trying to focus on the main things. Unfortunately, in the last few months other injuries started to occur and my body was just not coping, I’m very fortunate to have such a great support network around me especially the VIS and their medical staff. With the strain the injuries were taking on me both physically and mentally we made the tough decision to withdraw from the World Championships and really focus on getting my body right for future events. It was probably one of the toughest things I’ve had to go through since being in Athletics, but also probably the best thing I did for my mental wellbeing as well as physical. It’s hard to sit here in freezing Melbourne and watch the IPC games go ahead in France but I know the Australian Athletics team will make us proud and I am just looking forward to a great domestic season and to come back stronger than ever. Dream Rio. Kelly