21 August 2020

Canberra runner Emily Brichacek puts the postponed Tokyo Olympics into perspective

| Tim Gavel
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Emily Brichacek

Canberra-born Emily Brichacek still training hard for the postponed Olympics. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra runner Emily Brichacek can be forgiven for thinking she would never realise her Olympic dreams.

In 2012 Emily ran a B qualifier for the five-kilometre but fell just short of making the London Olympic team.

“I should have backed myself, on reflection. It was a breakthrough year for me,” said Emily.

In 2016 a lower leg stress fracture ended her hopes of going to Rio.

And now the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was in form; I hadn’t run a qualifier,” said Emily.

“I was focusing on the Oceania and National titles. I had run my second fastest time over five-K and I was happy with how I was going.”

Growing up in Canberra, Emily always aspired to run at the Olympics.

Emily training

Emily maintains a tough training regime.

Emily was drawing near that goal when she experienced a new lease on her running life by linking up with legendary Canberra athlete Shaun Creighton who became her coach in late 2017.

Since then there have been plenty of kilometres run around Mount Ainslie in her quest to qualify for the Olympics.

“I’ve been enjoying my running with Shaun. I feel stronger.”

There have been plenty of highlights in her career thus far, including making the final in the five-kilometre run at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and numerous appearances in Australian teams at international events such as the World Cross Country titles.

Emily Brichacek in competition

Emily has made numerous appearances in Australian teams at international events.

Prior to COVID-19, she had everything planned.

“My biggest goal was to go overseas to lift to another level. I wanted to put myself in the best position to qualify.”

In the wake of the decision to postpone the Olympics she has been forced to reset her goals. “I don’t stress too much about it. It was the right decision.”

As a clinical psychologist working in private practice in Canberra, there has been plenty of self-analysis and perspective. “I always wonder: will I be able to make the Olympics?”

But Emily is positive: “If I’m in shape, I should be able to do it again.”

Emily has shown plenty of ability to multi-task, combining initially her studies to gain a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Canberra with her training. Now work sits alongside her training regime.

Despite the injury and COVID-19 setbacks, you would be hard-pressed to find an athlete with the positive outlook and perspective displayed by Emily as she awaits her next opportunity to make it to the Olympics.

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