Alex Hartmann is a sprinter from Brisbane who is presently representing Australia in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The story of his journey, however, represents the hidden personal cost of competing, and the sacrifices which are often involved.
Hartmann, now 23, juggled a rigorous training routine with a job at Big W, a leading Australian discount department store, for an astonishing nine years so that he could follow his Olympic dream.
In a recent interview with BuzzFeed Australia, Hartmann opened up about the challenges he faced before even getting to the track itself.
“Growing up, money was always a little tight,” Alex told BuzzFeed. “It’s not like we didn’t have food to eat or anything like that, but extras like Little Athletics just weren’t a necessary cost. At the time, my parents just couldn’t justify spending what was a fair amount of money.”
As soon as he reached an age where he could get a job, so that he could fund his own training, Hartmann began working at a local branch of Big W. Over the course of the following decade, he toiled away, whilst simultaneously undergoing the arduous athletic training regime which is required of any Olympic contender.
A video posted by Alex Hartmann (@alexhartmannathlete) on
“My managers knew I was striving to be an Olympic champion and pretty much let me work the hours I wanted. On a standard day, I’d work in the morning, go home for a half-hour nap, eat, and then spend the evening training. I’ve done pretty much every job there that didn’t require me being a manager.”
After a successful experience at the 2015 Australian National Championships, Hartmann quit his retail job and began to focus on the Olympic Qualifying full-time. It’s worked out well and he is poised to take part in the Men’s 200m track and field sprint on August 16. He remains optimistic:
“The Olympics are known to produce some amazing results, so anything is possible.”