A STAWELL sprinter and Stawell Gift runner is taking the next steps of her career as she chases her Winter Olympic bobsleigh goals.
Sarah Blizzard is on her way to Brisbane to join the Queensland Academy of Sport; she will complete several months of intense training on Australian soil before heading overseas to build toward the 2022 Winter Olympics.
She then returned to Australia earlier in 2021 and is ramping up her training in Brisbane.
"It is a pretty good opportunity, plus it will be some warm weather which I haven't had for a while so I am looking forward to that," she said.
"It will be really good for when we are sprinting outside, and so we have a few track sessions each week.
"When I lived in Canberra, the training outside in the winter was cold, and it was hard to get moving in the cold.
"But by going up to Brisbane it just means that it is easier to get moving for these sessions and your body will be moving a bit more."
"They have supported me quite a bit which is awesome.
"We do get a little bit of funding which goes towards our training and there is also some other male bobsleigh athletes up there that I get to train with."
Blizzard said she expects she won't be returning to Stawell for around 12 months as she spends her time training and preparing throughout Europe and China.
"I will be heading over to Germany to access some one on one training and that should hopefully mean that when the season starts we have made some massive improvements already," she said.
"The season starts in October in Beijing for the test event for the Olympics, so we will go over there and learn the track for the Winter Games.
"Then we will actually have a World Cup race there, and then we come back to Europe and the rest of the World Cup season.
"Then hopefully, in February, we get selected for the Olympics, and we get to head back to Beijing.
"When I called my parents, and I said this is my plan and I think I am going to head up to Germany mid-year, they said: 'yeah, of course, just do it'.
"My family have been very supportive and it is a big thing moving all the way up to Brisbane and then overseas, but at the same time you have to do what you have to do when it is Olympic season and do everything possible to be selected and be competitive when you're at the games."
2021 was a strange Easter for Blizzard, who worked as a social media producer for the Stawell Gift, but didn't compete in any events for the first time in a long time.
And while her focus is on a budding bobsleigh career, she hasn't ruled out a return to the Central Park competition.
"Hopefully we can get some good results for the team and that will help get some more people involved in winter sports in Australia," she said.
"It is interesting; I am still part of it and got to talk to my friends and be involved in the action, which is great.
"Everyone asks me if I miss running and I do miss the atmosphere here in Stawell, but I am really happy doing bobsleigh now and you never know I will be back one day."
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