amazing women

#womeninsport…jumping into the spotlight is Brooke Stratton

Who remembers Hamish & Andy’s Fair & Reasonable Sporting Challenge series from last year? Are you still laughing at them as I am when I think about who they tried to take on?! Chances are you are, especially when you think of the time they tried to take on Olympian Brooke Stratton in Long Jump. Here’s a little memory refresh for you…

Brooke is my chosen athlete this week for a few reasons…she’s back competing after a long injury break post Olympics, plus it’s also her birthday today. Happy Birthday Brooke!!! You may have noticed, I’ve managed to drop the word Olympics twice in as many sentences! I’m a little excited to have an actual participant from the Olympics (again…) participating in my #womeninsport series. I’ve never spoken to someone who has been in the Olympics before! My excitement aside, I’m thrilled Brooke has taken some time out of her massively crazy training schedule (keep reading) to share the world of Track and Field with us. A world that is full of prestige but not much money…and that’s for both men and women. Local footy players probably earn more than most of these athletes!

If you were watching Eurosport on Saturday at approximately 11.30pm, you would have seen Brooke doing her thang at the London Diamond League…(skip to 1:20min) where she qualified for the World Championships. YAY!!

Watching this clip and stalking Brooke’s photos, I feel like I might take up long jump…have you noticed her legs?!! Superficial aside, which is kinda the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve with this series, read on for the credentials, achievements and future plans of this superstar of the Australian Track and Field world.

Who are you & where do you hail from?

My name is Brooke Stratton. I am 23 years of age and I am currently living in Knoxfield, Victoria.

What is your chosen sport? A brief career highlights reel if you please!

My chosen sport is Track and field and my event is long jump. I started little athletics with the nunawading little athletics club when I was 5 years old. Currently, I compete locally for the Nunawading Athletics Club and have represented Australia several times including at last year’s Rio Olympic Games.
Some of my Career highlights include:
– Breaking the Australian Women’s Open Long Jump record in March 2016 with a distance of 7.05m.

– Placing 5th at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

– Placing 7th in the Women’s Long Jump final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

– Equalling the U20 Australian Long jump record of 6.60m in 2011
– Placing 6th and 7th at the 2010/2012 World Junior championships (U/20)
– Placing 10th at the World Youth Championships 2009 (U/18)

What she didn’t say: Brooke is the first Australian to make the Olympic final since the 2004 Athens Games, when Bronwyn Thompson finished fourth. WOWEE, impressive much?!

What is your ‘normal’ week like? Training, playing/competing?

Training differs a lot in the off season as appose to training during the Athletics season.
An overview of my week is as follows:
Off season:
Gym: 2/3 times a week.
Running session: 2 times a week: More speed endurance/tempo running with little Speed work
Jumping session: 1 or 2 times a week
Core strength circuit: Most days
In Season:
Gym: Once a week (incorporating plyometrics/ jumps drills)
Running session: One tempo running session, one speed session
Jumping session: One jump session during the week, one run-up session & a competition on the weekend
Core Strength circuit: Most days

Is anyone else feeling a tad lazy? My osteo told me today I need to start doing a bit more exercise, which based on the current zero won’t be too hard, but this schedule has me tired before beginning!!! Anyone else suddenly changed their mind about being a world class athlete?!

Do you have a job outside of your sport? And why?

I am very thankful to still be living at home with my parents and siblings with minimal expenses. If I was living out of home, things would probably be a lot different. I had never had a job outside of sport until the end of last year when I was offered a part time job in customer service. It wasn’t so much for the financial side of things, it was more so to keep myself occupied whilst I was injured and had deferred the uni semester. During this frustrating time with an injury, I really enjoyed having something else to focus on whilst I had a lot of down time. However, lately my athletics has been the priority and work has been put to the side. I do find some part time work creates a nice balance around training, as long as you aren’t on your feet for too long and you are still able to recover adequately between sessions.

Whilst I am currently competing and travelling throughout Europe, I obviously will be unable to work for a couple of months. I am fortunate enough to have the financial support from Athletics Australia through their National athlete support structure. This funding is basically what I live off and what keeps me going. If I put things into perspective though, if I was living out of home I would not be able to support myself if I wasn’t working.

What changes would you like to see take place for #womeninsport & your sport in particular to level up the playing field between men & women? So that you could “just be” a professional athlete without needing another job.

Track and field generally demonstrates equality for male and female athletes. At many track and field events, Men’s events do seem to get a lot more attention as a whole, so it would be great to see women in sport be promoted and supported on a similar level. There are many female athletes out there who have done and are doing some incredible things and they deserve to get the same praise as male athletes. Prize money and funding is equal in most events and competitions for males and females from what I gather. However, to be a professional athlete without needing another job, the funding would need to increase as a whole in track and field. When you compare what the top AFL footballers are earning per year compared to what our top Track and field athletes are earning, there is no comparison.

Do you have sponsors you would like to give a shout out to?

I have a few amazing sponsors that I would love to give a shout out too. I recently joined team Nike which I’m really excited about and am thankful for all their support.

Athletics Australia and the Victorian Institute of sport have been fantastic in providing me with funding that enables me to do what I do daily. The medical team have been incredible in assisting me through some recent injuries. I’m thankful to be able to use the facilities at the Victorian Institute of sport.

Genius Gluten Free have helped with providing me with a lot of gluten free products which is essential especially when travelling. Gluten free products can be very pricey, so its great having their support. Read here about Brooke and her change to the GF life. Also watch this 🙂 Another also,  I think I have the same top as she is wearing in the article…I must be cool 😉

I have recently come on board as an ambassador for Wantirna Community Bank Bendigo Bank branch who I’d love to give a big shout out to as well.

What does life outside of your sport involve? Hobbies, passions etc?

Outside of sport I am studying a bachelor of Health Sciences at Deakin University which keeps me busy when I am not traveling or competing. Most semesters I will study part time, or defer the semester when need be. I am ¾ of my way through my degree, but I am in no rush to complete it. When I’m not training, doing uni work, or working, my downtime is generally spent hanging out with my friends, boyfriend and family. I love going out for coffee or going for a nice walk to clear the mind.

This is Brooke with her boyfriend Nathan, who is quite the athlete himself! Cute athletic couple…remind me of hubs & I 😉 *huge jokes

Tea or coffee? *this is super important!

COFFEE any day of the week! *I knew I liked the look of Brooke!

Where can we see you play/compete next?

I have just arrived in Europe last week and have competed in two meets so far in Budapest and at the London Diamond League where I qualified for the World Championships with a distance of 6.79m.
My next competition will be in Lignano, Italy on the 12th of July, then I will compete in Liege, Belgium on the 19th of July. And then of course I will be at the world championships!

Loving this Italian weather 🔥

A post shared by Brookestratton (@brookestratton) on

What does the rest of 2017 look like for you?

The second half of 2017 has already been brighter than the first half. The first half of the year for me was not spent competing, it was spent rehabbing a foot injury and more recently, a groin injury. However, things are finally looking a lot more positive after recently qualifying for the World Championships next month. Since August last year, I hadn’t competed for 10 months, so it is great to be back competing. After the World champs, I will return home to Melbourne after a short break and start my preparations towards the Commonwealth Games in April which I have recently also qualified for. Let’s hope I can get through a big training block injury free leading into a big 2018.

Who is going to the Commonwealth Games next year? Are you frantically searching for tickets to the women’s Long Jump now? If not, you should be! I’ll even make a sign for you to hold up in the crowd! Until then though, make sure you give Brooke a follow on…

I’ll share some pics and hopefully Brooke can too over the next few weeks of her next events including the World Championships. In the meantime, who is enrolling their kids in the local Little Aths so they can become the next Brooke Stratton?! Meeeeeee! In the meantime, equality of this sport aside, I’m left feeling a little meh by the fact there isn’t a great deal of funding in this field as a whole. It seems these athletes are extremely reliant on gaining outside sponsorship deals. I mean, how many other Track and Field athletes can you name? Usain yeah, but women? I shamefully admit I know very few, although I did watch a great deal of them during the Olympics. I guess if it’s not part of your every day life, you just don’t know. I mean I could name a dozen WNBL players in 10 seconds flat but that’s because I watch a lot of it. Now is the time we should come together as a female community to help make all these women superstars household names. How can we do this? I’m putting it out there to you all…I need your help in making #womeninsport a massive movement. Let’s create an environment for our daughters to aspire to. And one they can afford to aspire to…