THIS is why you need to watch Kathryn Mitchell right now: the Ballarat Olympian is staking out valuable life lessons.
And there is potentially still so much to unleash.
Mitchell’s sharpened game has nabbed two national women’s javelin records within 20 days of each other. Her 68.57-metre throw in Melbourne last Sunday took her from 12th to seventh on the (modern) all-time list in what was also the world’s longest throw for more than four years.
The 35-year-old is one of Australia’s oldest female track-and-field contenders in international competition.
The most important factor about Mitchell’s form right now, less than a month out from the Commonwealth Games, is her refreshed attitude. The past couple of weeks have given us a taste of the impact a changed perspective has made.
Mitchell is releasing the brakes.
“Previously if I’ve been throwing well, I’m like ‘oh, okay today I’ll have a crack at the Australian record’ and it just makes you try too hard,” Mitchell said after her latest record and new Victorian title. “I believe I can do it, but when and where is the question mark.
“I’m trying to let it happen rather than chasing it.”
In a world where we are constantly told to set and smash goals to measure success – about life, about work, about health, about money, about our own sporting achievements – we can too easily get blinkered from the bigger picture.
Mitchell is leading by example as someone who has done the hard work, preparation and has the experience. She believes she can get reach her goal with a focus on adjusting the simpler things.
This is an athlete continually reinventing her game and this must surely be a telling factor in her longevity.
Mitchell, who hails from Casterton, travelled to Ballarat for athletics training. Coach Lindsay Burgoyne helped harness her sprint and jump into a prime javelin candidate and Mitchell moved to Ballarat High School to seriously take up the discipline while completing her year 12 studies.
- READ MORE:Mitchell aims for greater heights
Mitchell made her Commonwealth Games debut in Melbourne 2006 but it was four years later, leading up to Delhi, that Mitchell really started to throw big under Uwe Hohn, the only man to have launched the javelin more than 100 metres (javelins have since been redesigned, records restarted).
Her personal best was just shy of 60 metres.
Four years later, Mitchell and Kim Mickle became locked in a pointed javelin battle, each prodding the other to go one better, leading into the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Now, speculation is rising for when and where Mitchell might fly past the women’s Commonwealth javelin record, a 69.35m throw from South African Sunette Viljoen in 2012.
Mitchell told media this was realistic, just not necessarily a specific aim.
Her story has its share of disappointments and injuries, but Mitchell keeps learning from them.
Javelin might not be track and field’s headline act, but Mitchell’s unfolding story is a must-watch.
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