One conversation with Kelly Cartwright is enough to change how you view your life. She’s got enough inspiration in her story to make a stadium full of people want to view their own stories very differently. She’s a mother first, Paralympian second, and all-around boss third. When she was fifteen years old, she had a form of cancer called synovial sarcoma that caused part of her right leg to need to be amputated. The true athlete in her forced her to keep competing and trekking on, ultimately winning a gold medal in the Women’s Long Jump F42/44 event as well as a silver medal in the Women’s 100 m T42 at the 2012 London Paralympics. We could list all of her accomplishments down (like competing in the Dancing with the Stars, being on the Australian Paralympic Committee and granting wishes as a Make-A-Wish Foundation ambassador), but we’d rather let her tell you about her incredible story recent ambassadorship with Reebok.
Keep reading to learn more about Kelly Cartwright and her unique, beautiful life.
Tell us, how did your ambassadorship with Reebok come about and what are you enjoying most about working with such an iconic brand?
I was put in touch with Reebok about 8 months ago now and I feel we just clicked! I believe in everything they stand for. They want to see a positive change in the world through being active and that’s what I’m about. I’m enjoying working beside other amazing humans and also getting to share not only my journey but support their message and movement nationwide.
What does the #BeMoreHuman campaign mean to you and how do you hope to help spread the message?
It means to be you! Be comfortable with who you are and the skin you’re in. To make the most of your body by using it in a positive healthy way. I hope I can show people that they’re enough, that anything is possible, and I hope to do this through my sport and through my speaking engagements.
You were diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 15 years old. What is one thing you would go back and tell your teenage self?
Not to be afraid of what you can’t do. But to focus on all the things you still can do. I would tell myself that you can still achieve great things.
Were you always into sport growing up? How did you come to be a Paralympic gold medallist?
I was always a sporty kid, I loved Netball, in fact, my dream as a kid was to play Netball for Australia! I also loved cross country. But after losing my leg sprinting became my dream. I met a lot of Para-Olympians after losing my leg, and lots of medalists. I just loved what they had achieved so I set my goals on becoming one! Image: Kelly Cartwright
What has been your biggest career highlight to date and what are you training for next?
The London 2012 Paralympic Games would be my greatest highlight, winning a gold and silver medal as well as a new world record. I had put my heart and soul into those games and all my hard work had paid off.
My goal at the moment is to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in Para Powerlifting.
What is something you want to see more women doing in general (ie. not comparing themselves to others etc, lifting each other up etc).
Supporting each other, pushing each other to succeed in whatever they chose to in life.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and would you pass onto your son?
Not to worry about all the things you can’t control – just to focus on the things you can. One piece of advice I would pass onto my son is the importance of treating everybody you encounter equally.
Image: Kelly Cartwright
What is your approach to mindfulness? Is it something that you practice?
I’ve never been great at mindfulness! But as an athlete, I have benefited from talking to coaches, peers and support groups. Having been in sport now for over 10 years I now know how to take a step back, breath and realize there is a lot more to life than winning or losing, it’s about being happy, having fun and being kind.
What does your current fitness routine look like and how does it differ to if you are/aren’t in training?
I train 6 days a week, once a day. My sessions are usually around 2.5 hours.
Having swapped sports from athletics to powerlifting, training is very different. My weeks used to be made up of nearly 12 sessions, now they are longer sessions and more load.
When I’m not in training or aiming for a comp, I still work out 5-6 days a week.
What is one thing that always works when you lack motivation?
Set a goal. Look at your goal, and know that if you don’t work your dreams won’t. But don’t set one massive goal, have little ones along the way, tick them off as you go and you will see improvement. Follow Cartwright on Instagram here and visit her website here. While you’re here, check out our favorite yoga mat here and read about why we can’t live without it.