Brooklyn shot-putter jumps into top 20 of world rankings

by Stacey Colwell

Sarah Mitton's Olympic dreams took a giant leap forward this summer.

"That's always been my ultimate dream," said the Brooklyn shot-putter after a record-setting performance in Pennsylvania.

"Track and field is a tough sport to get to a world level and make that dream come true, but just going through all this and knowing that everything is coming together two years out, it's a huge confidence boost. All the work I've put in over the last few years is giving me a lot more hope and that's something that's really great."

After graduating from the University of Windsor this spring, Mitton put on hold her plans to pursue a masters in biology in order to focus on a run at the 2020 Olympic team.

Her summer began with a month of good meets in Europe thanks to a new spin technique that has made her more dynamic and fast in the circle.

"I'd been making bigger throws in practice and started to really understand the spin a bit more. I'd just started this spin in October - I'd changed from gliding to doing rotational shot-put - and its been a battle to understand just what I have to do to throw further, so I've had a big progression as opposed to just one big throw all of a sudden."

Therefore, the former Canada Games gold medallist decided to keep that momentum going and attend the meet in Pennsylvania.

"It was really cool. The people who put on the meet called it Power Fest. They waited until evening to have shot put under the lights, and there was a bunch of good throwers and great energy: All the stuff you need to do well and compete."

The 22 year old wound up surpassing the elusive 18-metre barrier and breaking a Nova Scotia record in the process.

"My first throw pretty much felt effortless ... and everyone kind of looked at me because they had seen how far it went. When they measured it, I almost didn't believe it."

She followed that up with two more throws over 18 metres.

"It was just an unreal experience considering my [personal best] last year was 16.32 at the end of the season, so it's been a pretty crazy couple months."

The performance vaulted her into the top-20 of the world rankings.

"Moving up in the world ranks was one of the most exciting things because just last year I was ranked well out of the top 100."

What's more, Mitton's best throw of 18.52 metres was just shy of the Canadian record of 18.60 by training partner and good friend Brittany Crew.

"We train together every day and she has been really supportive. That's also been helpful: Both having someone to chase and seeing her put in the work every day has been an inspiration. Over the next couple years it's going to get really exciting being direct competitors. I think there's going to be big things coming and it'll help both of us."

To make the Olympic team, shot-putters typically have to meet the Olympic standard and place top-two in the country leading up to the Games.

Mitton's gruelling training for that will begin in earnest this fall after some well-earned downtime.

"I need to take a little rest and definitely come home to see my family."

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