Tia Hellebaut, 2008 Olympic High Jump Champion talking about sport and family
Tia Hellebaut is a Belgian track and field athlete who nowadays specializes in high jump events. She has cleared 2.05m both indoors and outdoors, and has an impressive list of titles to her name: European Champion 2006, European Indoor Champion 2008, IAAF World Championship Gold Medallist 2008 and Olympic Gold Medallist 2008. No surprise that Oakley has high hopes for Tia for the Olympic Games!
But something else makes Tia interesting as well: While she initially announced her retirement due to pregnancy in 2008, she was inspired by Kim Clijster’s comeback to the WTA as a young mother.
Today, Tia has two daughters and plans to defend her title at the Olympic Games 2012 in London:
Oakley: When people think about Olympic champions, they sure have a different kind of athlete in mind than you seem to be. You are down to earth, you have a private life – but you still go out there and win. What would you say is the biggest difference between you and many other athletes?
Tia Hellebaut: Thanks for the compliment! I can’t talk for the other athletes, but I’m happy with my life and I have a lot of respect for every athlete. For me it’s not about the level you compete on, it’s all about the person you are. I think basically we are all just humans beings – some people are just very good in jumping and other people are better in other things. Everybody has his own talent and we have to respect that.
Oakley: How do you set your priorities in everyday life?
Tia Hellebaut: Priority number one is my family. My job is jumping – although it doesn’t feel like a job. I try to be a good mother and a sportswoman at the same time. These are my primary priorities. The rest should combine with these two or I can’t do it.
Oakley: Obviously you exercise a lot but that’s not enough to be healthy. How do you make sure to stay healthy?
Tia Hellebaut: Food is off course very important, not only for athletes. I try to avoid junk food. Energy food from StarMeal is a good start to eat in a healthy way.
It’s off course also important to be mentally healthy. I always say: You can only perform well if you are happy in your life!
After a recent second place at the Samsung Diamond League Event in Oslo on 7th of June, and another second place just last week at the IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Moscow, we cross our fingers for August 11th!