The Challenges of Chasing Tokyo 2020

Abbie Taddeo is a 25-year-old athlete with the world at her feet. Focused on reaching Tokyo 2020, she’s already the 14th fastest Australian female in history, has won at every level on the way up, and is experienced representing Australia at world events.

When not flying over the hurdles, she’s the picture of a classic Aussie girl; energetic, confident, surrounded by friends and always ready to hit the beach.

It would be a safe bet to assume that her life as an athlete is all training, competitions, sponsorship endorsements and recovery time spent planning her next trip to a far away world meet.

Or is it?

The life of an aspiring athlete is rarely as it seems through the lens of a camera, its long hours, regular injuries and painful niggles, doubt over financial stability, uncertainty over the pathway to the top and frustration at closing doors or decisions outside of your control.

Don’t think that Abbie is complaining though:

I don’t believe everything should come for free, I chose the life of an athlete and I love it, but having support would certainly help

Abbie Taddeo chasing a place at Tokyo 2020

Abbie’s sights are firmly set on making the Olympic Games, representing Australia at future Commonwealth Games and World Championships, as well as breaking the 13 second barrier in the 100 metre hurdles. 

Away from sport she wants to be a role model to younger athletes and find a way through health and fitness, to empower and improve the lives of others, both physically and mentally. 

The life of an Athlete

The first challenge that might surprise some, is that although the sprint events are amongst the most anticipated and viewed sporting moments at not just the Olympic Games, but also on the world sporting calendar in general, in Australia an athlete like Abbie, gets no funding or support.

So straight away, all of her access to coaches, facilities, travel and equipment, is all on her.

Next is the time requirements. An average week of training goes over 6 days, and includes 8-9 physical workouts (track, weights, bike, pool and pilates), 3 pre-hab sessions a week, daily recovery and stretching programs, plus the inevitable travel time to get to elite coaches, facilities, reviews and competitions.

Abbie Taddeo and the Australian hurdling team aiming for Tokyo 2020
On International duty for Australia

The passion and drive to wear the famous Australian green and gold, does not leave a great deal of time to complete a regular day job.

A Sponsors Dream

So, with no funding and limited time, athlete sponsorship and support from local businesses seems like an important avenue for a talented athlete to pursue, but again this is something left up to the athlete, and as much as we love cheering on the elite once every four years or so, do we do enough to help them?

In Abbie’s case, the supplement brand True Protein reached out to her via Social Media (Instagram @abbtadd) and now supply her with products to look after her nutrition needs, following that and again through Instagram, Abbie has been able to align with Cryotherapy, who have become her biggest supporter in allowing her full use of their cutting edge recovery facilities.

But what would extra sponsorship support mean to her?

I would be able to ensure more recovery time, which would lead to greater performance. I currently coach people out of a local gym and whilst I’m lucky to have a flexible boss, I have to fit what I can around my schedule, which means early starts and late finishes. Extra support would reduce the stress levels post sport and enable me to be better prepared and focused on performance

Abbie Taddio a sponsors dream
Abbie combining training with True Protein promotions

Marketing herself

Abbie admits that she’s not really had a great deal of opportunities to promote herself. Her focus is on training and improving, around that she has build a following on Instagram – currently with over 25,000 followers, but that is an afterthought to track success.

I’m an athlete that likes training, and training gives me the confidence to believe that I can compete with the best and improve my performance

So how much importance does Abbie place on trying to promote herself?

To a certain extent. Tools like Instagram help as it’s a free, public forum, that’s let more people find me than I could hope to reach in other ways. I try to show that I’m professional and dedicated, and I interact with followers as much as I can

And finding that much needed sponsorship help…

I’m so grateful to True Protein and Cryotherapy for the help that they provide me with. Ultimately, I want to keep my head down and train hard, representing Australia at the Olympics would be incredible and I’d love to do the country proud. I’ve tried reaching out to a few companies, but it’s hard to get very far on my own – I hope that if people connect with my goals and my journey, maybe they in time might consider supporting me on it

You get the sense that Abbie is very grounded and has come to terms with the challenges of following her dream. She has already experienced multiple highs and lows, experiences that seem inevitable as an athlete attempting to achieve something that very few people do.

Abbie Taddeo hoping to make Tokyo 2020
Relishing wearing the Australian green and gold

So, what type of support might be out there for the likes of Abbie Taddeo, and as excitement for Tokyo 2020 starts to build, is now the ideal time for brands and businesses to look at aligning with sportspeople whose potential value could be about to rise in a hurry?

I recently noted the potential increase in value that comes for athletes who win at the right time, in that case I mentioned Indian Badminton ace PV Sindhu, who’s reported endorsement value shot up 50-70% after winning the BWF World Championship.

Athlete Sponsorship takes many forms and the duration of an agreement can be very flexible, could now be the opportune time to connect with an athlete gunning for Tokyo 2020?

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