TRU alum searching for the road to Rio 2016

Long jumper Anton Dixon talks about trying to qualify for this year’s Olympics in Brazil

Anton Dixon, seen here after his first senior competition in the U.K., is hoping to make Team Canada in time for the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janerio. (Submitted)

Anton Dixon, seen here after his first senior competition in the U.K., is hoping to make Team Canada in time for the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janerio. (Submitted)

Like many recent university graduates, Anton Dixon didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do when he left TRU for good last May. However, rather than taking some time off or backpacking across a foreign country until he figured it out, Dixon decided to get right back to work.

“My journey began in August just after graduation when I made the decision to relocate to the U.K. Choosing to put my degree on the back burner and pursue athletics was a big decision so naturally I had to aim high,” Dixon said.

Dixon, a graduate of TRU’s journalism program, is serious about aiming high. His goal is to compete in the long jump for Team Canada at the Olympic games this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

The former TRU basketball player, who is a dual citizen of England and Canada, moved to England to train full-time, hoping to qualify for the world’s premier athletic competition in just his first year of elite-level competition.

Currently he trains six days a week with his training alternating between regimes of technical work, muscle reaction work, strength training and of course a lot of sprinting.

Trying to qualify for the Olympics is a full-time commitment however, and Dixon’s training doesn’t end when he leaves the gym.

“My diet is very regimented and when I am not at the track I am in an ice bath, stretching or heating the muscles. Maintenance away from the track is as important as the sessions themselves,” Dixon said.

With track and field being in its off season since Dixon made the decision to participate in the long jump full-time, he has only competed in one event so far, the London Indoor Games that took place in January.

Even that competition was more about trying to “gauge where I was in my winter training program, as it is primarily geared towards the summer. It gave us a good indication as to what was working and what wasn’t and we literally got back to work the day after,” Dixon said.

Dixon’s lack of experience isn’t scaring away the Canadian Olympic Committee. They reached out to him in February to let him know that he had been identified as a potential member of the Canadian team for the Rio squad.

“It was nice to receive that after all the work I’ve been putting in. Now that I’m on the radar I need to produce the goods,” Dixon said.

So, after over eight months of training, the hard work will truly begin for Dixon in late April. That is when the track and field season kicks into high gear. And with the Rio Olympics beginning in August, he will have less than three months to convince Team Canada that after just his one year of training he deserves a spot on the team.

To do that, Dixon, who is currently jumping in the high seven metres, has two sure-fire ways to Brazil. He can either set a qualifying jump of 8.15 metres on two separate occasions or have an amazing result at the Canadian Olympic trials in July at which he would have to both win the event and set a qualifying jump.

Even if qualifying for the Olympics is something that he’s not able to do this time around, Dixon knows that for now at least, athletics is his future.

“The way I see it is if you consistently hold yourself to a high standard and the peak of your expectations are not met, you would have still overachieved. Yes the Olympics are the end goal but there will be many steps along the way.”