Date: 8th March 2020

Q&A with Sarah Blizzard

Sarah Blizzard has competed at Stawell every year since 2013 and despite a move to a new career in a winter sport on the other side of the world, she definitely does not want to miss the 2020 Stawell Gift.  Sarah has taken up bobsled and was part of the Australia team which competed at the World Championships in Germany in February and in France this weekend.

The daughter of Stawell Athletic Club President Neil Blizzard spoke to us about her change of sports and why she loves running at her home Gift.

Are you back in Stawell to run at Easter and why that is important to you?
I will definitely be at the Gift over the weekend, however my next month of training will determine what and how many events I compete in. I hope to compete because I have been competing since 2013 so I don’t want to miss a year. The Stawell Gift is also a home gift for me, so I absolutely love competing there where all my friends and family are cheering me on.

What are you looking forward to in Stawell?
There are so many things I look forward to over the Gift weekend, but my favourite is the Monday. The atmosphere is amazing and the silence just before the Gift Finals are run, followed by the loud roar from the crowd when the race starts is pretty special.

How have you found your time in Europe?
I have absolutely loved it. The five months I’ve just spent in Europe has gone very quickly and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We spend most days training and sliding but we have been lucky enough that some of the bobsled tracks are in beautiful places with amazing views. It has been a huge learning experience for me and now I just need to take everything on board to prepare for an even bigger season next year.

How have your running skills and training helped you in the bobsled?
There are a lot of skills that can be transferred from sprinting to pushing a bobsled, however there is still a lot that is different as well. The training is also similar in terms of type of sessions we do and how often we train. So now my off season will be focusing on getting faster and more powerful over 30m.

What are your aspirations for the future?
The goal for myself and Bobteam Walker is the 2022 Winter Olympics. This all starts next season where we will be following the World Cup circuit to earn points which go towards our overall world ranking, which is where Olympic selection happens.

Who has helped you get to this point?
There are so many people who have made this possible and there are lots of people to thank. First my family, for always supporting me and even making the trip to Europe to watch my first World Cup race. Also to my coaches for making me the athlete I am today because without that, this season wouldn’t have been possible. (Sarah’s athletics coach Matt Beckenham recommended her when he was approached in the search for a brake person).  And a massive thank you to our sponsors! Unfortunately this sport has very little funding so all of the assistance we get makes a huge difference and we couldn’t do it without them! We are also looking for sponsors to help us in the lead up to the Winter Olympic games, so if anyone would like to come on board, please get in touch!

And on Sarah’s surname, so fitting for a winter sport, she told us her European coach initially thought Blizzard was Sarah’s made-up Instagram name!  Best of luck Sarah in your new sport and we look forward to seeing you back in Stawell at Easter.


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