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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 4, 2020
Even amid a global pandemic, Olympic hopeful Sarah Mitton isn’t giving up on her dreams.
Mitton, a native of Brooklyn, Queens County, N.S., qualified for the 2020 Olympics in shot put after throwing the Olympic automatic qualifying standard while competing in New Zealand in February.
To qualify for the Olympic shot put event, women must throw 18.5 metres at an officially recognized event. Mitton broke that mark with a throw of 18.84, also a personal best for outdoor competition.
To gain her spot on the Canadian Olympic team, Mitton next had to place in the top three at the Canadian National Track and Field Championships scheduled to be held in late June. With the arrival of a global pandemic and now the postponement of the 2020 Olympics in Toyko, Mitton’s timing has changed but her determination to compete in the Olympics remains strong.
“The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions; from the excitement of qualifying for the Olympics, the uncertainty and stress in the following weeks, the disappointment surrounding the COC's decision not to send Team Canada to the 2020 Games - and now just I just feel relief," says Mitton.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced March 21 it would not send teams to compete in Tokyo. On March 24, it was announced the event would be postponed for a year until 2021.
"I do believe that postponement of the games is necessary, and I am looking forward to having another 365 days to prepare for my Olympic debut. This is just bump in the road, the journey remains the same. It just may take a little longer to get there,” said Mitton.
Mitton, now ranked 18th in the world in shot put, recently returned home from a month-long trip down under, competing in Australia and New Zealand.
“I opened my outdoor season in Canberra, Australia in early February. I won that meet with a throw of 17.93 metres on my final throw while battling some jetlag," she says.
From there, she travelled to Hamilton, New Zealand, placing second with a throw of 18.30 m.
"I spent the next weekend in Auckland, New Zealand, where I hit the Olympic auto standard for the first time during the qualification period and had a personal best," Mitton said. "I spent this competition battling two Olympians, my teammate Brittany Crew, and Dame Valarie Adams of New Zealand, and managed to come out on top."
Mitton has had an impressive year, winning a gold medal in Napoli, Italy at the World University Games in July with a throw of 18.31 m, which bumped her to 22nd in the world at that point. She placed sixth at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru with a throw of 17.62 metres. In August 2018, she broke the 18 metre mark for the first time, achieving 18.52 after switching her technique from glide to rotational.
Now a full-time athlete, Mitton graduated from the University of Windsor in 2018 but hopes to pursue a masters degree in marine biology in the future.
Normally, Mitton trains five times per week for about five or six hours per day. The bulk of this training is throwing and weight training, but also includes sprints, plyometrics, core and stretching/yoga.
“The pandemic has put a hold on regular training. Our training centre and weight room remain closed, and I am just trying to do my part to stay home and flatten the curve," she says. "My dad and I have set up an indoor throwing circle in the garage so I am feeling lucky to be able to still put in some work from home."
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- Nova Scotia Olympians react to Canada’s decision to pull out of Tokyo Games
- Nova Scotia’s golden girl: Queens County’s Sarah Mitton wins gold at Canada Games
- Queens athlete wins gold on the weekend
- Brooklyn woman finishes fourth in junior Pan Am shot put