Future Olympian: Gabrielle Ellis
By: Blathnaid Heaney ’19
With the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, some Notre Dame athletes, like Gabrielle Ellis ’19, realize that their goals are on the horizon. With their minds set and their feet on the ground, these athletes continue to train hard and perfect their sport as the crunch time approaches.
The Olympic dream is a long held aspiration for many athletes. For most, the decision to pursue Olympic success is not a decision taken lightly.
Most Olympic hopefuls recognize their potential at a very young age. Gabrielle Ellis, a junior working towards the 2020 Summer Olympics in the Women’s 400 meter, said, “I have been running from the age of five and I cannot see my life without track in it.”
Athletes face numerous decisions that many regular teenagers view as unthinkable. Due to their grueling practice schedules, often athletes sacrifice their weekends for competitions or practice. Athletes, especially of that caliber, learn very quickly how to manage their time for homework otherwise they face falling behind their classmates.
Ellis says “It’s been a part of my life every weekday and weekend. During [track] season, I practice six days a week for 2 hours.”
In the modern reality, however, it is no longer an individual goal. Instead, it becomes a family commitment where all members are deeply invested in the success of the athletes.
ABC News reported that parents sacrifice vacations and postpone retirement in order to fund the training and competitions of their athletes, costs that range from $10,000 to $30,000 on average a year.
Ellis said, “I have had to sacrifice friends by moving to cities to train with specific teams, but the most sacrifice has come from both my mom and dad. I am so grateful to have them as my support system.”
But practice, sacrifice, and raw talent aside, one attribute that can catapult athletes to the top is their drive to compete and desire to win.
“I continue to compete because there is nothing I love doing more than training to push myself harder each time and being able to see and feel the growth,” said Ellis.
With this positive and focused mindset, Ellis has the competitive edge that will allows her to push past her opponents.