Connaughton provides advice to athletes
P.E.I. Olympic track star Jared Connaughton says it’s alright to dream about success in athletics, but to make it a reality means you have to sacrifice, accept a healthy diet, train hard and keep away from the temptation of improving your physical stature with illegal drugs.
Connaughton addressed close to 100 P.E.I. Canada Games athletes, coaches, managers and parents at UPEI’s Duffy Amphitheatre on Saturday.
Connaughton, from New Haven, competed for Canada in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, in the 200-metre and 4x100 relay.
He’s a two-time P.E.I. Canada Games athlete, who won a pair of gold medals in the 2005 Games in Regina in the 100 and 200 events.
Connaughton was only 16 when he first represented the Island in the Games in 2001 in London, Ont., and admits he was not pleased with his results.
He took it upon himself to improve drastically, which he did competing for the University of Texas in Arlington and eventually winning double gold in Regina and becoming only the 10th person from Prince Edward Island to compete in the Olympics.
Connaughton emphasized that young athletes who want to compete for their province in August 2009 have a glorious opportunity to put on a great show in their own backyard.
“When the Games are in our own home, we should take it very, very seriously,” Connaughton told the audience during his one-hour presentation. “A lot of money is going into these Games to build some pretty outstanding facilities. It’s an opportunity I never had.”
Connaughton, who trains five hours daily, told the athletes they must sacrifice by giving up things like junk food and even partying in order discipline themselves and to make themselves better people and athletes.
He also suggested they use technology such as video to get their techniques down pat and he says writing a daily journal is important during training and competition to see where you are at and what improvements can be made.
Connaughton also told the young athletes that the use of illegal drugs including steroids and human growth hormone must be avoided because they are no more than a quick fix and with today’s modern testing methods, you will be caught, eventually. He also says the health risk involved is not worth it.
He says motivation is also a key to becoming a better athlete, which comes from both the individual and coaching staff and positive parental support.