Australian athlete Alex Hartmann Worked At Big W For Nine Years To Follow His Olympic Dream

Australian athlete Alex Hartmann is damn fast. So fast in fact that he’s currently in Rio, competing in the Olympics.

Off to the @athleticsaustralia Rio Opening Ceremony! #RoadToRio #OneTeam #Olympics #OpeningCeremony with @dbirds92 @pbol24

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Alex’s race is the 200-metre sprint. Yeah, the same race in which Usain Bolt will be trying to break his own world record next week.

Unlike most Olympic athletes however, 23-year-old Alex didn’t start any kind of athletic training until he was 16. This was mainly due to the fact that it’s bloody expensive.

“Growing up, money was always a little tight” . “It’s not like we didn’t have food to eat or anything like that, but extras like Little Athletics just weren’t a necessary cost. At the time, my parents just couldn’t justify spending what was a fair amount of money.”

As soon as he was old enough, Alex got a job at Big W, where he stayed for the next nine years. Besides buying a Suzuki Swift, almost all of the money he earned went towards training, gear, and competitions.

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@alexhartmannalthete / Via instagram.com

“My managers knew I was striving to be an Olympic champion and pretty much let me work the hours I wanted,” said Alex. “On a standard day, I’d work in the morning, go home for a half-hour nap, eat, and then spend the evening training. I’ve done pretty much every job there that didn’t require me being a manager.”

A year and a half ago, Alex quit his job to train full-time. While he refused a farewell dinner, his colleagues threw a morning tea to see him off.

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@alexhartmannathlete / Via instagram.com

“I still visit the store every now and then to see how everyone is and to have a laugh – they’re some of my biggest fans.”

“The Olympics are known to produce some amazing results, so anything is possible,” said Alex, counting down the days until his first race in Rio.

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@alexhartmannalthlete / Via instagram.com