After the disappointment of missing out on selection for the 2012 London Olympics Tracey Lambrechs is so excited to be heading off to the Rio Olympics. With personal bests of 138kg Clean & Jerk and 108kg Snatch, Tracey wants to raise her own New Zealand Olympic Weightlifting records in Rio and in doing so inspire future generations. Tracey epitomizes perseverance. She has had her ups and downs but through it all she has remained positive and determined to triumph on the worlds greatest sporting stage…
When did you first want to go to the Olympics?
Around 2010 I first wanted to go to the Olympics. Before then I’d never really thought I could be an athlete of that caliber. I’d had years in sport, a couple of international competitions under my belt but I didn’t really think I could do it. Then after the Delhi Commonwealth Games I thought no I can do this and its within my reach.
What does it mean to you to be an Olympian?
It is an amazing overwhelming feeling to know all the years that I have sacrificed and invested in my sport has paid off. The Olympics is pretty much the only thing missing from my competition cv now and being selected to go to the Olympics, it makes everything worthwhile.
How do you feel as a female athlete representing NZ inspiring young kiwi girls?
It’s important for girls to know you can be any shape or size and still be good at a sport. You don’t have to be the skinniest or the tallest or the leanest to be the best at something. No matter what your body type is there is a sport out there for you. The girls are really starting to kick butt out there and we can pretty much do everything that the boys can do. I think we’ve been catching up for a while but I think we are starting to lead the way now.
Describe one of your hardest training sessions in the last 6 months
At the moment my coach Adam Storey has got me in a strength phase which is really tough. There is a lot of volume. So I’m doing triple snatches up to 80/90% of my best. Then we will have pulls in sets of five. It might not sound that much but when you’re pulling a 100-120kg every rep it is quite a bit. Then we follow with some squats. The other day I had sets of six squats. So when you get to the top weight, you do 3-4sets of your top weight. So a lot of volume with a medium amount of weight but its exhausting.
When you walk out to compete in Rio what will be the last thing you tell yourself?
Happy thoughts really. Happy thoughts. Just be brave. Go for it and be happy!
What will you have for breakfast before you compete in Rio?
I compete in the evening so I can have a pretty decent breakfast. I’ll probably have some eggs on toast and some fresh fruit with some yogurt.
Aside from life as an elite athlete what else makes you get out of bed in the morning?
My family. I know a lot of people say that but I love picking up my two nieces from school and taking them to gymnastics. I just love hanging out with them. I don’t really know what else I’d do with my time if I wasn’t an athlete because I don’t really like working that much! I think most probably I’d be trying to hang out with my family as much as possible.
What’s your ideal rest day?
Sleep in until about lunchtime. Then I’d some brunch. Catching up with my nieces after they finish school. Then I’d have dinner with my girl friends and just a quiet night in really would be great.
If you weren’t dominating the sporting world what would you be doing?
I have a post-grad qualification in Event Management so if I wasn’t lifting I’d be running cooperate or sporting events. Any kind of events I just love the whole process of organising, budgeting and planning involved.
Finally, if you had the chance to acknowledge someone who has helped you get to this point in your sporting career who would it be and why?
I think besides my coach Adam the next best people would be my Mind Strengthening Coach, David Niethe. He took me from a broken athlete trying to get over the disappointment of missing out on London and struggling with a lot of thoughts and negative images about myself and helped me turn around my life. He helped me to stop being a victim. To start leading my own life. He showed me that I am the maker of my own destiny. Also my physio team have been amazing. Both Peter Lee and James Saunders have been great. No matter what happens they always figure out a way to get me back on the platform the next day to do my best.
Photo credit: Tracey Lambrechs