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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Olivia Tauro getting the help she needs to get to London

Olivia Tauro getting the help she needs to get to London

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Tauro eyes London Olympics

St George & Sutherland Shire Leader
15 Dec, 2011

OLIVIA Tauro, the young pig-tailed pin-up girl of Australia’s 2010 Commonwealth Games team, is working out of her new home base in Sutherland Shire as she tries to overcome a year of heartache, and to qualify for the London Olympic Games.

Tauro hopes to tackle her first competition hit-out in almost a year at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre this weekend, ahead of the Grand Prix athletics interstate season.

‘‘I’m starting late, I suppose, but it has been a bit of a battle to get this far,’’ Tauro said.

Four years ago the Hills District Athletic Club junior sprint star helped her Australian women’s team win a bronze medal in the 4x 400m relay at the IAAF world junior championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

But since her first major senior competition, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi last year, Tauro has been dogged by drama on and off the track. She ran a fast split time for Australia in the 4x400m women’s relay in Delhi, where Australia hoped to get a medal.

Sally Pearson, winner of the 100m hurdles and a last-minute inclusion in the relay team for Lauren Boden, ran the final leg and collapsed at the end, after Jody Henry (52.23sec), Pirrenee Steinert (53.10) and Tauro (52.7) had run the earlier legs.

Her Australian team finished shy of a bronze medal in fourth place, behind India, Nigeria and England.

A member of a large extended family, Tauro’s relationship with her mother Sarah McLellan reportedly broke down when McLellan publicly criticised the decision to drop Boden for Pearson, but Tauro says she and her mother are now ‘‘well over that’’.

Tauro enjoyed a partly good 2010-2011 summer, including running a personal best time (51.9) for the individual 400m, before she was beset with nagging injury problems.

‘‘There was a lot of pressure. I didn’t have a coach, my body started breaking down through back and hamstring problems and I lost my [Athletics Australia] funding,’’ said Tauro, who also started drifting in and out of various rental properties.

Without a car or a licence, Tauro had to spend half her days just travelling on public transport so she could work two jobs to help fund her sporting career, including training twice a day.

Five people in particular have recently come to her aid: her old coach Penny Gillies at Homebush, cricketer Tim Freeburn and former Test league star Jason Stevens — both partners in the Global Sports Agency — and fitness trainer Jock Campbell and his wife Melissa, who run the Jock Athletic Academy in the shire.

Freeburn, the Bankstown leg-spinner and former Sutherland player who became her manager and Stevens have started finding her some sponsors, while Campbell has worked to help her overcome injury problems and bring her up to speed again.

‘‘We all agreed we had to help Olivia, and not let her talent go to waste,’’ Freeburn said.

Stevens said: ‘‘Olivia is a great girl and we all want to see her succeed. The other day she was the only one out of our [training] group to back up for an extra run ... she sure has some heart.’’

Tauro, a top 200m athlete in her teens, admits she is trying to come to terms with a new area of Sydney.

‘‘Any athlete needs some backing and these guys have really helped me,’’ she said. ‘‘Now I’ve just got to stay fit and get some results on the track again. I’d love to run the individual 400m in London, but just making the Games relay team will be a feat.’’

Campbell has been impressed with Tauro’s attitude in training. ‘‘If the work she puts in is any guide, Olivia will succeed,’’ he added. ‘‘She’s just getting her confidence back.’’ Now, with their help, she has the promise of a car to drive. She just needs to find time to study for her licence!


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Great news to see that Olivia is back "on track" once again. Looks like she is in good hands after a period of time that was not conducive to good athletics, and unfortunately, she is not alone there.

Have watched her rise up from the junior ranks to be a good runner over the 200 - 400 metre distance's. PB's of 23.62 in the 200m and 53.21 in the 400m as a 17 year old and a recent PB of 51.9 at 21 years last summer should put her in a good frame of mind for the tasks ahead.

Good luck Olivia.

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