He hasn’t quite thrown his mortar – aka graduate cap – into the air to celebrate attaining his Arts and Law degree, but Australia’s 100m sprint King, Rohan Browning, said completing his final exam at the University of Sydney felt like a load was lifted from his shoulders.
Browning, a NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder, ran a personal best of 10.01 at the Tokyo Olympics and said his academic pursuit had re-enforced to him the importance of such things as time management, discipline and structure.
“I have ostensibly finished, but it’s pending pass or final of the final course,” said Browning with his fingers tightly crossed. “I’m optimistic about finishing – but I don’t have a bird in the hand quite yet.
“I think that, crucially, studying made me a bit more conscious of how I spend my time, and it gave me really good structure which was quite symbiotic with the training. I think the best advice for everybody who is studying [and in a high performance program] is to be structured with your time and to be really deliberate.”
However, as the man who has made headlines in 2021 for a wind assisted sub 10 second [9.96] 100m; who recorded the fastest time by an Aussie on Australian soil when he nailed his Olympic team berth with a time of 10.05 [since reduced by Browning to 10.02] ; who became the first Australian in 17 years to qualify the Olympic 100m event; who defeated Jamaica’s former world champion when he hit the turbos in his first heat at Tokyo to finish in 10.01 and came fifth in the semifinal, Browning’s degree has been a veritable marathon!
“Having said [all I did about structure and being deliberate with your study] I spread my five year degree over eight years because there are all these flexible options available that can make it really viable,” said the NSWIS athlete.
“So, it’s felt more like a slow burn because [the course] has been dragged out because I’ve chipped away at it.
“But I’ve been lucky the faculty has been so supportive while I’ve been overseas competing . . . it hasn’t always been super easy, but I’ve been very fortunate to have tutors who’ve been very supportive.”
Browning, who is in the throes of preparing for his second Olympic campaign, said he’d felt somewhat lighter since completing his final exam.
“I’m feeling really good,” he enthused. “Training is going well, and I feel super happy with where things are at.
“Finishing this degree is like losing a load from off my shoulders. It just sets me up to focus on my sport and the timing couldn’t be better with the Olympics.”
Browning, who is coached by Andrew Murphy, a triple Olympian, said what he’d taken from the Tokyo Olympic Games and recent World Athletics Championships was it re-enforced to him the one key requirement needed to enjoy success. And while it isn’t glamourous, he conceded it is crucial.
“Consistency over the year,” said Browning. “It’s not having too many highs and lows and just being really consistent. That gives you the best platform to have a big breakthrough performance, and that’s what we’re aiming for this year – that unglamorous consistency.
“We’re right in the middle of the off-season and it’s a bit more of a slog, a bit more of a grind, but it’s quite enjoyable knowing we’re laying the foundational work that will serve me well in eight to 10 months.”
Words: Daniel Lane, NSWIS; Photo: Lauren Klemt, NSWIS