‘A ticking time bomb’: Brittany Crew breaks Canadian shotput record (again) for silver medal

LIMA, Peru — Canadian shotput star Brittany Crew said ahead of competition at the Pan American Games that she felt a bump in distance coming, calling it “a ticking time bomb.” That blast finally went off on Friday, as she registered a new Canadian record of 19.07 metres and earned a silver medal in the process.

“This is the bomb,” she says.

Heading into her sixth and final throw, the Canadian sat in third place with a mark of 18.47, but she made her last attempt count.

“I’m over the moon,” she says. “I knew I had it in me today but I had to dig deep on the last throw and I think that’s one of the clutch things I can do. I’m going to give my coach a heart attack one day.”

It was the third time she broke the national record this season, and has also been putting up big results on the Diamond League circuit this year, all despite losing months to a serious foot injury she suffered around this time last year.

That’s actually why this is Crew’s first Pan Am Games — the Toronto native missed her last two chances to compete in front of a home crowd because of injuries.


“Better late than never,” she says. “I actually sprained my ankle before the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto so I missed the opportunity to compete at home there, and then I ended up breaking my foot right before [North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships], which was another opportunity to compete at home.

“I guess I’m just not meant to compete at home, which is funny.”

Long road to recovery

Crew’s coach, Richard Parkinson, has been working with her for the past six years. He says the broken foot was a big blow, but Crew handled things like a true professional and is all-systems go heading into a crucial year.

“It was tough [but] she handled it extremely well, she listened to doctors, listened to physio…She’s a professional now [and] she had to look after it. It healed very well, she didn’t want to get sidelined

“This year is very important. Pan Ams and worlds lead into the Olympic Games, so she knew she needed to look after business, to rehab and give it time.”


Brittany gets a flag from her coach Richard Parkinson after securing the silver medal. (Carlos Osorio for CBC Sports)

Crew says the break wasn’t all bad — she was allowed to start to miss her sport after what felt like non-stop competition and training.

“I’ve been kind of go-go-go and it was a blessing in disguise because I got a few months that I was forced to take off of training,” she says. “So I was allowed to actually miss the sport and actually focus on my studies and I graduated this year.

“I got to focus on other things and actually miss the sport, so I think it was a blessing in disguise.”

Parkinson says Crew managed to turn the negative of her injury into a positive by focusing on aspects of her training she could still work on.

“Mentally it was tough for her, while other people were doing things, she couldn’t. She’s worked hard doing other things she could do,” he says. “Her upper body strength, those numbers are way up over last year. She’s very disciplined and did a great job coming back.”

Getting it all off her chest

Crew knows a thing or two about how to channel pain into positives. One thing track and field fans might not know about her is that Crew is a budding songwriter.

Her grandfather bought her a guitar when she was about 12, and taught her a few chords before Crew started teaching herself.

Crafting songs was just another way Crew was able to get a weight off her chest, as it were.


Canada’s Brittany Crew secures the silver medal in the women’s shotput during the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru on Friday. (Carlos Osorio for CBC Sports)

“I started to kind of vent. I didn’t have a horrible childhood, but I didn’t have it easy,” she says. “My dad has an addiction to prescription medication, so he’s been struggling with that for awhile now, so that’s where it came from, just writing songs to get my feelings out for that.

“Just kind of used it as music therapy…if I was feeling anything, I could just put it out in a song, and that makes you feel a little bit better. It’s out there, in the open, on a piece of paper, and you’re not keeping it inside.”

Eyes on the Olympic prize

While putting pen to paper may be part of a future career, her current goals are clear.

“My ultimate goal would be to get an Olympic medal,” she says. “I’ve already been to the Olympics once, and I got the experience that time but the next step would be to leave with a medal.


Canada’s Brittany Crew unloads her final throw at the Pan Am Games on Friday. (Carlos Osorio for CBC Sports)

“When I was at Rio, I was just happy to be there. I wasn’t expected to make the team and then you see everyone getting medals and you’re like ‘man, I want one of those.'”

Now that she’s broken the Canadian record three times and eclipsed the 19-metre mark, she believes she’s on the right path.

“This is what I need to throw, this is on track for a medal in Tokyo,” she says. “Maybe there’s more in the tank this year.”

 

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