TORI WEST

Olympic Profile

Your athletics journey over the years and specifically in recent years.

I started athletics at 3 and also played Basketball, Boxing and Tennis growing up. I initially excelled in High Jump and made my first State Championship at 11. At 15 I was scouted out by my first coach (Gary Cairns) to throw Javelin and won a national championship a year later.

After High School I was a bit lost and didn’t really know what I wanted in life. By 21, I decided I wanted to pursue the heptathlon and endeavoured to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I had a breakout year in the heptathlon scoring an impressive sequence of Personal Best performances, but just fell short of the Commonwealth Games team.

The 2018 breakout year gave me the confidence that I had what it took to be elite. I decided to move to Brisbane from Townsville to grow as an athlete under Olympic Coach Eric Brown.

In 2020 I won the Australian Championship for the Heptathlon and was the first Australian to break 6,000 points in 13 years. After this, I was so excited to compete in Europe to try qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics… then COVID hit.

From 2020-22 I struggled badly with injuries and major season interruptions. At one stage I was stuck outside of my home state due to lockdowns for 9 months. I didn’t complete a heptathlon for almost 3 years and was extremely close to walking away from the sport. During this time is when I built my life and career outside of sport.

In 2023 I made a comeback, and restored confidence in my body and ability to compete. This is largely due to the influence and guidance of my Physio and now one of my coaches – Sam Leslie. I call him the wizard.

2023 became the foundation year for qualifying for the Paris Olympics. My head coach Eric Brown said it would take 5 years under his programming to hit serious scores as a heptathlete. This is our 5th year working together and I’ve finally broken through.

Now I’ve qualified for the Olympics and scored the highest score by an Australian in 17 years. As long as I stay healthy and happy, we are on a beautiful performance tangent.

Why/how & at what age did you begin your sport.

I began athletics when I was 3 turning 4 at Townsville North Star Athletics Club. I lived on the same street as my local club grass track in Warrina. Dad took me down one day to watch and I remember seeing someone run the 400m without a uniform, and this made me think I could do it too. Dad signed me up soon after.

What is your most memorable sporting achievement?

Competing this year at Gotzis Hypo-Meeting in Austria has been my career highlight thus far. Gotzis is the ‘Wimbledon’ of the Heptathlon and attracts the best heptathletes in the world. I competed there for the first time this year and came out with 5/7 event Personal Bests (PB) and a big overall points PB. I lifted in the most competitive field I’ve competed in to finish 6th. This performance contributed largely to my Olympic qualification.

Who is your hero / idol?

I admire many people for different reasons, I don’t have an individual in particular.

Who has been the most influential person in your career and why?

At different stages of my career, different people have had different impacts. At the very start it was my Dad, he encouraged me to always have a go and have fun. My goal as a kid was always to jump higher than him in High Jump (and I did). Dad taught me how to jump on our backyard trampoline.

At 15 years old, my first coach Gary Cairns scouted me out at a high school meet and coached me to my first National Title in Javelin at 16. I was a pretty quiet kid and didn’t have any grand ambitions in sport. Gary was the first person to help me believe that I could be an elite heptathlete – he is a rare coach that can identify and nurture raw talent. I began my heptathlon career in Townsville with Gary alongside coaches Sue Boyd and Carly Villiamu.

Mum has been a big influence on my resilience during hard years. Mum is a very tough woman and has helped forge my grit. She doesn’t allow me to feel sorry for myself in shortfalls and keeps me honest.

My current Coaches Eric Brown and Sam Leslie have the greatest influence now. The faith they have in me and the time invested is something I am extremely grateful for.

To me the most influential people are the ones you have in your inner circle and ride the highs and lows with you. I have an amazing personal support circle.

What advice would you give to your young self?

All things work for good (Romans 8:28). The true gift of this journey is not the performances or the accolades, it’s the person you become in the process. I draw more confidence from what I’ve overcome rather than what I’ve achieved.

Do you have any hobbies away from your sport?

I really enjoy building creative tech projects as part of my job with Equil Labs outside of athletics. I started coding seriously during COVID as I had a lot of spare time on my hands. This evolved into my work career and the company I run now. I work alongside some extremely talented and amazing people. I love that I have something I am passionate about that goes beyond my athletic career.

What is your sporting ambition?

I want to break the Australian Heptathlon Record and be a medal contender at all 3 majors – Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games. I also would like to throw 60m+ in the Heptathlon.

Occupation:

Blockchain Developer / Software Engineer / Entrepreneur

What primary / secondary school did you go to?

Annandale Christian College (Primary) & Pimlico State High School

Other sports played (at a high level)

Boxing in 2016. I won the QLD State Title in the 69kg division with a 4-0 win record and was coached by Dan Allman.

Interesting facts:

Current Club:

Townsville North Star Athletics Club / University of QLD

Little Athletics Centre or first/junior club:

Townsville North Star Athletics Club

What is your true home town – where you have spent most of your career.

Townsville, Queensland

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and why?

Balance. Being an elite athlete, and running a business. It’s very tough. I couldn’t do my sport without my job. It took 10 years to get to the point where I could have my business sustain my lifestyle and also have the flexibility to pursue my athletic goals. I have an amazing personal support network. Without this, it just would not be possible. I have had to learn to ask for help, be patient and value my wellness above everything.

Any interesting facts about yourself or your family?

I have 4 younger sisters who I adore.

I love steak and coffee.

I am a bit of a nomad and travel a lot! The longest I have stayed in one location in the last 5 years has been 8 months.

I taught myself how to code and built a portfolio by doing a lot of work for free before I started getting paid. My first project was a heptathlon points calculator (multi.events). I have now gone on to present around the world on blockchain projects and am working on some seriously cool stuff for athletes alongside my Olympic pursuit

Next Heptathlon

Paris Olympics, 8-9 August