Country: Great Britain
Profession: Athlete – Discus
- No.4 on all time UK rankings – 65.56m
- 2019 Universiade finalist- 4th
Going to number 4 on the UK’s all-time list must have been a special moment. Can describe what it felt like when you saw the results and realised what had just happened?
In the moment it was the first time for quite some time where I had connected cleanly. I knew the minute it left my hand it was big, and it was an immediate response to a decent throw by my main competition on the day, so I just owned the space and raised my arms to the crowd almost as if asking “Are you not entertained?!?” When they called the distance, it was bittersweet confusion; I knew I was in shape to throw that far but I didn’t expect it to have the feel of knowing without question there was more in the tank. I marginally fouled an even bigger throw in the final round so it was a mixture of emotions – call it the competitor in me trying to just throw as far as I can!
Can you describe the perfect throw (for those of us non-throwers!)?
For me personally, the perfect throw is a moment of slow motion. As I begin the rotation, I feel outside of myself and I’m able to engage in a full internal dialogue. I acknowledge the moment, a thought creeps in to do something technical, another voice interjects and reminds me – be still, enjoy the moment and let it flow. I then surrender and allow my nature to nurture what the crowd get to enjoy.
Kinesiology and Philosophy are interesting study choices. What sparked your interest in these fields?
I was bored by everything else, and sports science (Kinesiology) always felt lack lustre for me in isolation. I’m big on the mental component of the game, but also of life itself so I took a Philosophy class to entertain the prospect and just resonated with it. I wanted to see what I could gain by studying both in the long run – maybe one day I’ll figure it out. At the very least I had to make school fun in whatever way possible because I enrolled into the NCAA to do one thing… compete against a better bunch and throw further than them.
What is the story behind the nickname ‘Afro Thunder’?
So that was just a joke when I enrolled at UMD to be completely honest! However, the real nickname “Grizzle” took off within the first couple days of meeting my roommates. I had met a random stranger on the streets of London one evening who said I looked like a big bear and they just called me Grizzle out of nowhere. It stuck with me, and the rest is history.
What is your greatest fear?
My biggest fear is that people are incapable of change.
What is the WORST advice you have ever been given?
To try and work with corrupt organisations – I’d rather have nothing knowing my true value than suck eggs and be exploited and silenced out of fear of losing crumbs. When you come from my walk of life and similar strides, you realize this only serves them and in the grand scheme does nothing for you or those around you.
What is your favourite place to visit when you are not working or competing?
I wish I had one…
The one place I would like to visit is Japan, I’ve loved the culture, the food and the scenery from a young age. I’ve never ever really visited anywhere and been a real tourist, but I’d be really into it out there!