I never grew up watching the Olympics or the Commonwealth games, growing up I just played sports I loved. Always encouraged by my parents, always supported. Somehow on the path to a netball career or doing athletics I became involved in Olympic weightlifting. Over the years I fell in love with weightlifting, retired from all other sport and decided that this was what I wanted to do. That was 2004. Fast forward to 2018 and I’ve been to multiple International championships all over the world, 1 Olympics (2016), 2 World Championships (2011 and 2015) 2 Commonwealths games (2010, 2014) With my third Commonwealth Games just around the corner!

In 2010 I placed 5th, I remember the feeling of wanting more, of wanting to be on the podium so I worked hard, for the first time I probably became a properly focused athlete. Missing out on the 2012 Olympics just fuelled the drive to be better. Glasgow, 2014, I needed my final lift to move in to 3rd place, I was currently sitting 5th. I still remember walking up the stairs to the platform, happy thoughts flooding my head and a big smile. Once I had the weight overhead, once I realised I was taking home a medal, I was overwhelmed with emotion! A mixture of relief and happiness, of a job well done-especially under pressure. Then there was talk of retirement but in my head I was already planning for Rio 2016! I trained harder, worked smarter and became a fulltime athlete, working just enough to pay bills. I still remember the phone call from my coach and Valerie Adams, finally after years of friendship we were going to the Olympics together. The Olympics were amazing, after placing 13th and having some down time I realised that I still was not done, after all the Gold Coast games were pretty much in our back yard and roughly less than 2 Years away.

Now here I am, preparing for my 3rd Commonwealth Games and thanks to the support of The Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation, I am able to participate in a 3 week build-up training camp with the Welsh Weightlifting team (who are expected to medal). I have a great relationship with lifters in the Welsh team so appreciate being able to train with them as we build up to compete. I look to not only add to the medal tally but to upgrade from the Bronze won 4 years ago.

It’s tough being a fulltime athlete when there is no funding even for an Olympian but at the end of the day I love my sport and am thankful I get to do what I do. Where there is a will there is a way. Especially with this great foundation supporting New Zealanders who dare to dream and then achieve.

Forever grateful for your support.

Tracey Lambrechs

Tracey Lambrechs