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Gleadle in Olympic Final

August 09, 2012

By Kay Hawes, Director of Marketing and Public Relations (Photo courtesy of Rick Lam)

NOTE: UBC's Gleadle finished 12th in the world after advancing to the medal round. She was the first Canadian in 22 years to throw a javelin in the Olympics.

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"Throw like a girl!"

That's the expression Liz Gleadle has on her website, and it fits her colorful personality. It's also true, that throwing like a girl means something different when Gleadle says it. A four-time NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Champion from the University of British Columbia, Gleadle will represent Canada in the 2012 Olympic Games. At 6'1" and 185 pounds, Gleadle is the current Canadian record holder in women's javelin, the NAIA record holder in women's javelin and a four-time NAIA All-American. Lots of people, including some men, wish they could throw like her.

A Vancouver native, Gleadle took off the past year from her studies in kinesiology at the NAIA's British Columbia and moved to Lethbridge, Alberta, to work with throwing coach Larry Steinke and focus exclusively on preparing for the Olympic Games. Her efforts paid off as she set the Canadian record and earned a qualifying mark, along with a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. Gleadle will be the first Canadian woman to throw the javelin at the Olympic Games since 1988, the year she was born.

"It's the definition of perseverance now," Gleadle told the Lethbridge Herald in July. "If you want to do something and make it your own, you have to go after it. No one is going to do something for you," she said.

"I moved here, I changed coaches and I decided to commit my life to training. I got injured several times and I didn't care what it took, I was getting better and I was making this team. Nothing was going to hold me back. It's been a hell of a challenge, but it goes to prove that if you want something bad enough, no one is going to take it from you unless you let them."

So, that's what it means to "throw like a girl." Watch Gleadle throw when she begins competition in London August 7th. It may change the way you feel about the phrase.