You won’t be able to find many people in the world that can currently jump as long as Brooke Stratton. In fact, she is the current female record holder in long jump for Australia/Oceania, with an outstanding leap of 7.05m. Brooke competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and recently found herself on the podium at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
'It was a childhood dream to get to the Olympics, so it was an extremely special experience. Winning a Commonwealth Games silver medal on the Gold Coast in front of family and friends meant a lot to me as well,' Brooke explained.
When it comes to inspiration for Brooke, she looks no further than Australian athletic teammate and Olympic gold medallist, Sally Pearson.
'My idol would have to be Sally Pearson. She has had her fair share of setbacks, yet continues to come back fighting every time. She has proved to me that Aussies can be competitive on the world stage.'
Juggling sporting commitments while studying can result in a large amount of stress for athletes. Brooke is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Health Science at Deakin University, Burwood Campus, and can relate to this sense of pressure. She believes it is vital to find the right balance between competing and uni commitments, and has found studying part-time and during Trimester 3 to be extremely beneficial.
'Being an elite athlete means a lot of travel both interstate and internationally. I have been studying one or two units per trimester, sometimes even deferring if need be to make things manageable for me. I am very thankful for the fact that Deakin has the flexibility of studying online or over Trimester 3.'
Brooke is enjoying her time studying and being part of Deakin's elite sporting community, and is looking to pursue further study once she's finished her bachelor degree.
'I was always passionate about health and fitness growing up, so I thought a health science degree would be well suited. I am hoping to complete a masters degree once I have completed my undergraduate degree this year.
'Deakin University have been extremely supportive with my sporting endeavours – I am part of Deakin’s Elite Athlete Program, which provides some flexibility with my studies while I am travelling, training and competing.'
Brooke also has a few words of advice for anyone that is thinking about studying while playing professional sport.
'Nothing is impossible. I find study to be a fantastic outlet and distraction around training. It provides the perfect balance in my life, especially when travelling and having a lot of down time.
'Study keeps my mind occupied and ticking over.'
With the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha Qatar coming up in October, and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Brooke will be busy preparing and training over the next few months.