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Steven Brown - Olympic Judo Team, Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer

Steven Brown
'I work a minimum of 70 hours a week at the gym and then train full time on top of that. I don't think there would be many people who train more hours than I do.'

Steven will be the first South Australian ever to represent the state in judo at an Olympic Games. As if that isn't a big enough achievement for a 22-year-old, Steve also owns a gym where he is a fitness instructor and personal trainer.





How did you get involved in judo?

A lot of kids at my primary school were doing it so I did too.

When did you realise you were cut out for more?

I always had goals. When I was about 10, I had goals to make the state team. By the time I was 11 or 12, I wanted to go to the Olympics.

Were there adequate facilities and competitions to take it seriously?

For a 12-year-old it was adequate, because you don't need a lot at that age. You can always train with the 14-year-olds if you want to make life difficult for yourself. It's far harder to get training partners as an adult.

Do you focus on judo full time now?

I have a full-time job as well, but I could stop working and still be very busy. However, I couldn't afford to do just judo.

You own a gym. Is that something you can keep up full time?

It's very difficult to work for somebody else and travel as much as we do, so if you're not self-employed you basically have two options: you can't travel as much or you have to take a job that doesn't pay very well.

How did you manage to set up your own gym at such a young age?

I guess I've never really looked at age as an issue. I've always been very impassioned with everything I have done, which probably shows in the fact I have trained virtually full time since I was 14. I worked in a gym for a couple of years, so I had a rough idea of what I was doing – I didn't just decide to go and open a gym. I knew what I wanted to do and how much money it was going to take. I did a fair bit of saving and a fair bit of scrambling. As far as the actual business side of it goes, my family has always been self-employed so I've always been around it and have a good idea of how it works.

How is your training going in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics?

Our final selection tournament was in March and before that we had a training camp in Japan and a competition in New Zealand. I had most of April off and then hit it hard again in May training in Europe. Since then I've spent a couple of weeks in Australia and a couple training in Japan.

Who is in the support team around you?

I have two main coaches. I've been with Neil Daly for about four years and he is good because he gives me as much time as I need. He is completely voluntary. The other coach is my dad who has been coaching me since I was about 12. He doesn't have so much of a hands-on role these days.

What role does the Institute of Sport play?

Judo is not a sport at the institute so I don't train there, but I do use their sport psychologists and doctors. The psychologist has been really good to me in the last 21 months. He has given me motivation and focus, and advice for handling pressure.

What do you like about judo?

I like that it's an individual sport. While that can also be the worst thing, because it can be pretty lonely if you are copping a beating, it's good because you are in control of your destiny. You decide if you win or lose and there is no-one else to blame.

Who will you be competing against at the Olympics?

There are 32 players in my division – each one from a different country. You don't know which opponent you are going to have until the day. There are a lot of good players in there – the reigning Olympic champion, current world champion and European champion.

What are your chances like?

I don't really know yet. On the day I can beat anybody in the world   there is no doubt about that. The difficult thing is putting it all together on one day.

Are you excited about going to Beijing?

Definitely, although excitement is a funny word because it is a job. I don't just want to go there for a free ride. It will be an awesome experience, but at the same time I have a very important job to do.

What are your plans for when you get back from Beijing? How long do you think you can compete at a professional level?

I probably have another eight years in me, but for the next 12 months I really have to focus on the gym. I have really put that on the backburner the last six months.

Do you think you have a harder job than someone who is in a high profile sport which has a lot of sponsorship?

Absolutely. I work a minimum of 70 hours a week at the gym and then train full time on top of that. I don't think there would be many people who train more hours than I do. It's not a problem, though, because I enjoy it.

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about going down the same path as you?

It's a hectic one, but it has a lot of rewards. I always wanted to work for myself and I had no doubts about that. I guess that's the exact same reason I play an individual sport – because I'm a bit of a control freak. I don't think it's a bad thing to want it all   I've never thought there was a reason why you can't have your cake and eat it too. As long as you enjoy putting the hours in, it's not really an issue.

Do you ever have time to just sit back and relax?

Not a lot. It will probably be strange after the Games – I will have a lot of time that I don't know what to do with. It's going to be bizarre to sit down and reflect on things.

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