Madison de Razario
Edit: Kimberlee Kessler

There are many moments that mould the athletes of today; they are made up of pride, disappointment, triumph, and heartache. GRAZIA speaks to the Australian Olympic team on the moments, the people and the discipline required to finally step onto the starting line. For Paralympian Madison de Rozario, her motto is turning up 100 percent of the time. Here she appears as an ambassador for The Body Shop Australia and its Hemp range made for hardworking hands. 

GRAZIA: When did you realise you could take your sport to a professional level? How old were you?

Madison de Rozario: “Early. I made my first national team when I was fourteen. I don’t think I realised just how far I could go with it until much later though. Sometime after my second Games things started to come together a little differently and the goals definitely shifted from just making finals to a little higher.”

How did you feel when you qualified for the Paralympics?

MR: “I hardly remember, I made my first Games team when I was still in school. I do remember knowing we were getting selection calls that day AND answering the phone in a class. That first team wasn’t a certainty, I was definitely one of the last athletes selected in 2008.”

How has your success affected the way you think about yourself, your self-confidence and your relationship with your body?

MR: “It’s changed me a lot in some ways and not at all in others. Success is a strange thing – it enables me to approach things with a lot of self-assuredness. Not just confidence that I can win races, but that if I choose to do something, I know I can make it happen and if I don’t know how to right away, I trust that I can work it out.

In other ways though, I think it gives a lot of clarity to the fact that neither our successes nor our failures change who we are. We’re the exact same person before and after, and we can’t fall into letting the highs or the lows define us.”

Can you describe the moment just before you compete? What are you thinking about, and why?

MR: “I’m a wreck right before the gun goes. I’m restless and sometimes nauseous and struggle to focus.”

“As soon as the gun goes, I’m an entirely different person. I feel really still and in control – like my body and my mind know exactly what they need to do.”

What does a week of training look like for you?

MR: “Seven sessions a week in the race chair. These are split between the road, the track and indoors in the heat/altitude chamber. Plus, another two to three [days] in the gym. Leading into a big comp we’ll add some passive heat sessions, as well two to three times of physio a week, sports psych, dietitian, and more. Obviously, some TLC for the hands in there with The Body Shop’s hemp range.”

On your hardest days, what drives you to keep going?

MR: “I give myself the option to walk away every single day, every single session, every single set. I think that turning up is easy, we can all choose to not give ourselves an out, force ourselves to be there. But that’s different from wanting to be there and that’s a very significant difference.

If I’m struggling for motivation, I tell myself I’m allowed to call my coach and tell her I’m not coming in. And as soon as you have that option you begin to realise that you don’t actually want that. You want to turn up, you want to achieve those goals, that’s why you set them in the first place. You start to recognise that it’s just feeling a little trickier today than it did yesterday and that’s fine. But as soon as you take ownership of your choices it becomes a whole lot easier to not just turn up but turn up with 100 percent of you and that’s what is going to make all the difference. I guess a tidier way of saying that is to say you remind yourself of why you chose to do it all in the first place. Check in with yourself and see if those reasons still stand. If they do, that’s all the reasoning you need. If those reasons don’t stand anymore then it’s time to set some new goals.”

THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES WILL RUN FROM JULY 21 TO AUGUST 8. THE PARALYMPIC GAMES WILL RUN FROM AUGUST 24 TO SEPTEMBER 5. EXPLORE MORE ATHLETE STORIES HERE.

thoughts?