Happier, fitter and on new sticks: Alysha Newman aims for Canadian indoor record

Happier, fitter and on new sticks: Alysha Newman aims for Canadian indoor record

Alysha Newman was back to her old self, laughing, mocking her best friends and pole vault mates during training at an indoor competition, and no longer doubting her place in the sport.

In his best racing form and best technical form, Newman is not ruling out the possibility of raising his Canadian record from 4.82 meters to 4.85 or 4.90 in the coming weeks.

“I am so much happier [competing]. Latest [winter] I was going through some personal things off the track with a relationship that was not going well, “said Newman, who will take part in a World Indoor Tour meet in Madrid on Wednesday and the All Star Perche event in France on Saturday.” I was able to get this out of my life and get over him and this part of my life. “

“Him” is Newman’s ex-boyfriend and former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo, who was arrested on October 20, 2019 for assaulting the 26-year-old from London, Ont., In a bedroom hotel at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania.

Newman later withdrew all charges relating to a domestic dispute against Chickillo, whom she had met several years earlier in the training hall as a student-athlete at the University of Miami.

“When you realize that no one is pulling you down, you become much happier, you look forward to things, and you appreciate the people in your life who are there to support you more,” Newman said of his parents. and her best friend Kristy Smith. “Everyone around me is enjoying life and this is what I needed.”

Seeing Smith happy again, and being successful in life after working in the past, gave Newman the confidence that she could one day feel the same.

Agent Jeff Hartwig, a former pole vaulter and member of the US Olympic teams in 1996 and 2008, was an inspiration to Newman on the track.

“There was a doubt in my mind. Why am I pole vaulting? remembers the 2016 Olympian in a recent telephone interview from France. “To my ex [he thought I was] pole vaulting as a hobby. Now I walk into an arena and I have no doubts why I am here. I realize how fun it is to run, to set the bar high, or to make people smile. You realize that little things turn into big things.

“Jeff helped me realize how much we as pole vaulters inspire people and want people to pursue their dreams.”

An interest in acting

Hartwig told CBC Sports that he simply reminded Newman of his past and recent success.

“The hard work and commitment that she always puts forth is like money in the bank ready to be withdrawn when needed,” he said, adding that all athletes are faced with stress in life that could derail their careers. “She just needed to tap into that strength and move on, which she did very well.”

Newman admitted there were “low and low days” early in his recovery from the relationship breakdown, but the longtime Nike athlete vowed to waste no time when the coronavirus hit closed the world of sport last March. She has expressed a desire to excel off the runway in her modeling career and on social media by helping people feel empowered to pursue their goals through her Instagram feed.

“I had all this time to invest in myself and I was going to do what I love. I hired a coaching actress so I’m looking to get into acting, ”said Newman, who also bought a home last spring in Caledon, Ont. ., about 60 kilometers northwest of Toronto, to be closer to coaches Doug Wood and Zeke Krykorka at the Bolton Pole Vault training center.

On the pole vault track, Newman was “ecstatic” with the first results of jumping on new poles custom made by Gill Athletics. The 14ft and 9in poles are three inches longer, allowing for higher grip without compromising performance and the potential to jump higher.

Newman crossed 4.62 meters the first time with the sticks during a Perche Elite Tour meeting on February 6 in Rouen, France, and plans to use them for the remainder of the indoor campaign. She averaged 4.53 in four indoor competitions a year ago after setting her indoor mark on August 28, 2019.

With competitions canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Newman has decided that 2020 will be a training year focused on improving his speed, power and speed at hitting the box. The goal was to reach his August jumping form in early 2021 after noticing his confidence and speed lagged during the indoor season in recent years.

“I’m almost there. Speed ​​training in 2020 has translated and I’m bringing an energy that I didn’t previously have on the track,” said Newman, who reached the Tokyo Olympic standard of 4.70. in June 2019. “My weight and body fat is exactly where it was [last] August and my ankle power is much stronger this year.

“Now the goal is to be comfortable and in a rhythm on these poles. By the time I figure out how to tie the top of the stick with my feet, it’s going to be amazing.

“I don’t see 4.85, 4.90 as out of reach by the end of the indoor season. If I could pull out another 80 indoor season. [like 2019]I would be in great shape by going outside. ”

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