Madison De Rozario Is Preparing For The Unknown

After winning two silver medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, two gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and breaking world records, the 27-year-old wheelchair racer is ready to bring home gold from Tokyo. Watch. This. Space.

Coping with the pressure

“I get nervous before every race − no matter how big or small it is. Obviously, the Paralympics means more than anything else. I’ve broken world records, I’ve held world titles, won major marathons. I’ve done nearly everything else. I just haven’t won at a Paralympics, so there’s a lot of pressure to do that. I work with a sports psychologist who helps keep me grounded. We do a lot of work, like on the mental space I want to be in while I’m racing or how to prepare for unknowns. When it comes down to race planning, my coach and my sport psych complement each other. They’re the full package.”

Championing women in sport

“Female athletes have the capacity to not only move women in sport forward but to also bring every other minority group with us while we do that. As an athlete with a disability, I exist in a couple of different minority groups, and I can see it’s the same challenge. We don’t have the same luxuries and privileges that our male counterparts have, that our able-bodied counterparts have. We’re not super comfortable seeing women or disabled people taking up space in sport yet.”

Prepping for chaos

“Tokyo is going to be chaotic. Because of the pandemic, there’s still a lot that’s unknown in terms of whether we’ll be allowed to leave our rooms or the Village or be granted access to the dining hall. Flexibility is going to be paramount. I think results are going to show who was able to do that as well as the physical preparation.” 

A life-changing moment

“[Competing] at the Beijing Paralympics, at age 14, I was so out of my depth! I was racing alongside these powerhouse women. One was Canadian Chantal Petitclerc. I made the finals that year, which she won, and I came dead last. When Chantal received her gold medal and flowers, she had to walk past the Australian tent on the way back from the podium. She saw me, gave me her flowers and said, ‘These are for you until you win your own.’ It was such a powerful moment.”

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