Gracie Elvin 2013-05-02
Bill Robertson (Director LES MILLS Asia Pacific): I have personally sponsored young Australian athletes for over a decade as a way of putting something back into sport and fitness which are areas that I have worked in for 45-years. International cyclist Gracie Elvin is the daughter of a legendary Canberra athlete Dave Elvin, who was an Australian representative in cross-country skiing and went on to compete in Ironman triathlons, including Hawaii.
International road cycling is a tough sport and requires hours of training and living on the road away from family and friends for up to 8-months of the year. To succeed at this level requires an athlete to know that people believe in them, especially when times get tough – as they do for all successful athletes. Having financial support takes the financial pressure off giving them one less thing to worry about as they strive for success. Having had a coaching career at the international level in swimming myself, I am well aware of the sort of attitude and commitment that is required to reach the top levels in sport and Gracie has demonstrated to me that she has this and I personally like the idea of supporting a young Australian who lives one of LES MILLS Asia Pacific’s values: what-ever it takes. In January, Gracie won the Australian National Road Championships:
In Gracie’s Words
It took me 10-years to win a Senior National title. A decade of blood, sweat and tears if you don’t mind me being too cliché. There were good times, bad times and a lot of times when I wondered what I was doing; my win was just a bonus after so many hours around my bike, on and off it.
I belong to the generation that spent more time outside than inside as a kid, and I just wanted to try everything. By the time I was 14 I had reached a point where I felt I wanted to put more energy into one activity. My dad, who has ridden more than his fair share of km’s, set up mum’s old steel bike and from then I was hooked. I graduated to a heavy entry-level carbon bike and went to as many group rides and local races as I could. Mum and dad made sure I had to wait until my first interstate race so I didn’t rush my competitive spirit. Every race I did I was dropped by the group on the first hill, but for some reason I kept showing up – the first few races that I managed to keep up with the fast girls I was wrapped!
I have had countless crashes, multiple hospitalizations and operations, suffered in the rain and wind and cold, and felt anger and frustration many times; I have also had the best times in my life riding a bike with my dad and my friends, spending hours climbing in the beautiful Australian mountains and racing in many different countries and have felt the satisfaction of complete exhaustion and triumph. I could tell you how many hours I’ve trained and how many races I’ve done: but to me the only reason I won that special race in January was because I had believed in myself for so long, I never once wanted to quit and I always had some blinding confidence that one day it would all be worth it.
Expect to Hear More
Bill believes Gracie has the ability to reach the 2016 Rio Olympics – and who can doubt this girl who has the support, smarts (Certificate IV Fitness and currently studying a degree in Health Sciences at University of Canberra) and strength to go all the way. You can be proud that you, through LMAP has played a small part in helping Gracie get to the grueling height of cycling success.