• Sat. Mar 6th, 2021

Happier, fit and on new poles: Alysha Newman targets indoor Canadian record | CBC Sports


Feb 23, 2021

Alysha Newman was again to her previous self, laughing, poking enjoyable at her greatest pals and fellow pole vaulters on a drive to an indoor competitors, and now not doubting her place within the sport.

In her greatest working form and technical kind, Newman is not ruling out the potential for elevating her 4.82-metre Canadian file to 4.85 or 4.90 within the coming weeks.

“I’m so much happier [competing]. Last [winter] I was going through some personal things off the track with a relationship that wasn’t well,” mentioned Newman, who will compete Wednesday at a World Indoor Tour meet in Madrid and the All Star Perche occasion in France on Saturday. “I was able to get that out of my life and move on from the situation, him and that part of my life.”

“Him” is Newman’s ex-boyfriend and former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo, who was arrested Oct. 20, 2019 on expenses he assaulted the 26-year-old native of London, Ont., in a lodge room at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania.

Newman later withdrew all home dispute-related expenses in opposition to Chickillo, whom she met a number of years earlier within the coaching room whereas a student-athlete on the University of Miami.

“When you realize no one is pulling you down anymore you become a lot happier, you look forward to things and you’re more appreciative of people in your life that are there to support you,” mentioned Newman of her dad and mom and greatest pal, Kristy Smith. “Everyone around me is enjoying life and that’s what I needed.”

Seeing Smith completely satisfied once more and profitable in life after working by an analogous previous relationship gave Newman confidence she may really feel the identical sooner or later.

Agent Jeff Hartwig, a former pole vaulter and member of the U.S. Olympic groups in 1996 and 2008, was an inspiration for Newman on the observe.

“There was some doubt in my mind. Why am I pole vaulting? What is it to me?” the 2016 Olympian remembered throughout a latest cellphone interview from France. “To my ex [he thought I was] pole vaulting as a hobby. Now, I walk into an arena and I’m not doubting why I’m there. I realize how much fun it is to run, put up a high bar or make people smile. You realize the little things become big things.

“Jeff helped me understand how a lot we, as pole vaulters, encourage individuals and wish individuals to go after their desires.”

An curiosity in appearing

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

“The exhausting work and dedication she at all times places forth is like cash within the financial institution able to withdraw when wanted,” he said, adding all athletes encounter stress in life that could derail their career. “She simply wanted to faucet into that energy and transfer ahead, which she has finished very well.”

Newman admitted there have been “low, low days” early in her recovery from the failed relationship but the longtime Nike athlete vowed not to waste time when coronavirus shut down the sports world last March. She expressed a desire to excel off the track in her modelling career and on social media by helping people feel empowered to pursue their goals through her Instagram feed.

“I had all this time to put money into myself and I used to be going to do what I like. I employed an actress coach so I’m trying to get into appearing,” said Newman, who also bought a house last spring in Caledon, Ont., about 60 kilometres northwest of Toronto, to be closer to coaches Doug Wood and Zeke Krykorka at the Bolton Pole Vault training facility.

On the pole vault runway, Newman has been “ecstatic” with the early results from jumping on new poles custom made by Gill Athletics. The 14-foot, nine-inch poles are three inches longer, allowing for a higher grip without compromising performance and the potential to jump higher.

Newman cleared 4.62 metres the first time with the poles at a Perche Elite Tour meet on Feb. 6 in Rouen, France, and plans to use them for the balance of the indoor campaign. She averaged 4.53 across four indoor meets a year ago after setting her indoor mark on Aug. 28, 2019.

With competitions cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Newman decided 2020 would be a training year focused on improving her velocity, power and speed hitting the box. The goal was to reach her August jumping shape at the beginning of 2021 after noticing her confidence and speed lagged during the indoor season in recent years.

“I’m virtually there. The velocity coaching in 2020 has translated and I’m bringing power I have not earlier than on the runway,” said Newman, who achieved the 4.70 Tokyo Olympic standard in June 2019. “My weight and physique fats is precisely the place it was [last] August and my ankle energy is rather a lot stronger this yr.

“Now, the goal is to get comfortable and into a rhythm on these poles. The moment I figure out how to connect the top of the pole with my feet, it’s going to be incredible.

“I do not see 4.85, 4.90 as out of attain by the top of indoor season. If I may pull out one other 80 indoor season [like 2019], I’d be in nice form heading to outside.”

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