Micaela Hazlewood is not just a small town girl living in a small town world, even though she was born and raised in small town Linton, Indiana. Although she visits home from time-to-time, she has moved on to a professional career in mental health, is now married, and has her sights squarely on joining the U.S. Olympic team for discus, as well.
When she went out for track and field in middle school, though, she said she really thought she would be a long jumper. Still recovering from a bout with pneumonia at the time, she could barely run hard enough to do so, she explained. That is when she tried discus, and eventually shot put and the throwing hammer, too, but stuck with discus throughout high school and college until now. This is all fascinating because she said she actually disliked discus at first. Now, she trains seven days a week for it.
Although she does take a day off each week, at least she claims in theory, she even references that day — usually a Saturday — as “an active recovery day” saying that she typically only does yoga and sprints on those days. For the the rest of the week, she either throws, does weight lifting, or some combination of the two.
If Hazelwood makes it to the Olympics, we asked her a few specific questions:
First, when did it become real? We mean really real, and you thought to yourself, “Hey, I really can be part of the U.S. Olympic Team?” She replied that particular moment happened her sophomore year of college when she thought the Olympics was a feasible goal.
Second, how did you even get here? And she admits, being qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team is more complicated than it sounds. She’s currently ranked 37 in the world for discus, and one way to quality is to move her worldwide rank up to 32. She has some other means at her disposal, as well, but the Olympics have difficult standards, even to just complete.
Third, what would she say to that little girl in Linton watching her compete on television? Well, she had this to say, “There is nothing keeping you back, and don’t be afraid to ask for help to get to where you want to go.”
Micaela is truly thankful to those who have helped her along the way, too. She said most recently, there was some money quickly raised on a GoFundMe page to help get her to the Bahamas to compete this weekend. She said her Junior High School track coach was a big influence on her, and her best friend, Natalie, has encouraged her since junior high too.
Between working at a mental health facility and training for discus, it leaves little time for other hobbies, she explained, but she does enjoy a number of outdoor activities with her husband. Professionally, Micaela holds a Master’s degree in the mental health area with her undergraduate work completed at Purdue, and her Master’s degree completed in Kentucky, where her discus coach still resides.
Please keep cheering Micaela on, as she attempts to compete in the Olympics and serve Linton proud!
All photos courtesy Micaela Hazelwood.