Rising Canadian shot putter Sarah Mitton is proud to inspire with groundbreaking campaign
An unforgettable summer in the shot put for Sarah Mitton of Nova Scotia ended with a community celebration this week near her hometown of Brooklyn, Nova Scotia.
Mitton, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month and then came third days later at a Diamond League event in Poland, added another title a few days ago.
The 5-foot-6 shot putter won the NACAC track and field title in Freeport, Grand Bahamas last week.
« I’m from Brooklyn, but this was in Liverpool. It was a celebration of all the Olympic potential we have in the county, » Mitton told CBC Sports.
« It was really cool. Almost the whole town came out. I saw everyone I knew. »
WATCH | Sarah Mitton wins Commonwealth Games gold in the shot put:
A larger than life banner of Mitton now hangs at Queens Place Community Center in Liverpool. As humble as that sounds, Mitton can barely understand how the community and the province recognized her.
« They’re so proud. Beaming with pride. And inspired. Some of the kids have come up to me and talked about watching my throws, » Mitton said.
« Being able to hear all of their stories about them just looking at me was so awesome. »
In many ways, this season couldn’t be more different from last year. Mitton believes she was prepared for the Tokyo Games — as prepared as she could be for an Olympics amid a pandemic.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t compete at the level she is capable of and couldn’t qualify for the final. Mitton placed 28th on the biggest sports stage.
But his trainer, Richard Parkinson, says he knew Mitton was on the verge of taking it all down. He says the world indoor championships marked a turning point last year and Mitton hasn’t looked back.
Ahead of the nationals in Langley in late June, Mitton told CBC Sports she believes throwing 20 yards could be a possibility.
In May, at the Golden Horseshoe Prep Meet in Hamilton, Mitton threw 19.58 metres. She was gradually approaching this 20-meter barrier.
And then it happened. On his final pitch of the competition in British Columbia, Mitton threw 20.33 metres.
She was overflowing with confidence.
« Sarah over the past year has figured out a lot. Mentally. The confidence level. It’s all there now, » Parkinson said.
« It’s a different level of intensity. It’s more relaxed and confident without being obnoxious. There are athletes who are overconfident. Sarah is quietly confident. She’s from Nova Scotia. »
WATCH | Mitton steps onto the Diamond League podium in Stockholm:
Weeks after his 20-meter throw at the nationals, Mitton narrowly missed the podium at the world championships in Eugene, Ore.
She finished fourth in the women’s final, although she tied the distance of 19.77 meters for third place with her last throw. However, the tiebreaker goes to the second-best throw – Netherlands Jessica Schilder’s second-best throw was 19.53m, while Mitton’s was 19.18.
Although she narrowly missed the podium, it was Canada’s best performance in the women’s shot put at a world championship.
Gold in Birmingham
Mitton then traveled to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and managed to win gold. And she did it in dramatic fashion. On his last throw of the event, Mitton recorded a throw of 19.03m to win his first international title.
« After the 20-yard throw at Nationals, my confidence skyrocketed. I didn’t think I was going to come out this year and smash every competition, but I’m going to accept it, » Mitton said.
« My worst meeting was the Commonwealth in terms of consistency and I still ended up winning. »
From Canadian teenage swimming sensation Summer McIntosh, soccer star Christine Sinclair, hockey and golf stars Marie-Philip Poulin and Brooke Henderson and many more, including teammates, Mitton says that seeing Canadian women leading the way motivates her.
« It’s a real thing. I look up to a lot of these women and follow them for inspiration, so it’s kind of weird to be among them, » Mitton said.
« You see a woman doing it, and it makes me fucking want to do it. »
Mitton has one more event on the calendar this season. She will take part in the Diamond League final in Zurich early next month.
But Mitton and Parkinson are already talking about the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
« I’ve been training with Rich now since 2017 and joking aside, he always overestimates how far I thought I could throw, » Mitton said.
« I have reached a level [where] I believe him. And then I think I can throw that far. 21 meters is not that far now. »
And the coach knows that’s what it takes to get on the podium in Paris.
« That’s what we’ll need for Paris, » Parkinson said.
« And she can do it. »