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Paralympian Livvy Breen on Paris Prep and Inspiring the Next Gen

“I really want people to realize what a difference sport can make to your life and [how it] helps with disability as well.”

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Paralympian Livvy Breen on Paris Prep and Inspiring the Next Gen

“I really want people to realize what a difference sport can make to your life and [how it] helps with disability as well.”

26-year-old Paralympic athlete Livvy Breen is gearing up for this year’s Paralympic Games in Paris, hitting the gym three times a week alongside yoga, sprinting and jumping. During the 2012 Games in London, Breen was the youngest member of the Great Britain Paralympic athletics team and in the last 12 years, she’s only gotten better.

Inspired by adidas‘ recent campaign, Breen spoke about the importance of overcoming pressure, particularly within her field. “I just try to take things in my stride and don’t put too much pressure on myself. Just take things as they come, and just enjoy it and embrace every moment,” she tells Hypebae.

“I think the more you think about something, the more stressed you get about it. Whatever happens, happens, you’ve just got to enjoy it. That’s the main thing, just embrace every moment you’ve got. With the Olympic and Paralympic Games, they only happen every four years so you do just have to take every opportunity you get,” Breen continues.

We spoke to Breen about her current training regime, the songs that get her pumped and ready and what she hopes to achieve in the future.

Read on for the full interview.

 

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A post shared by Livvy Breen (@livvy_breen)


You’re soon going to be gearing up for the 2024 Paralympics. How have you been been preparing? Can you tell us a little bit about your current training regime?
Preparation has been really good so far, hopefully it all keeps going that way. My current training regime has been really intense. Mondays and Fridays are jump days, and then there’s sprinting and speed endurance as well. I’m at the gym three times a week, and then doing yoga as well, just trying to keep the body healthy. But it’s all going really well so far so I’m feeling really, really excited.

What are your good luck tactics or superstitions that you follow before big events?
I’m normally very sociable but on the day when I compete, I try to be with my coach and stay very quiet and just watch training videos and just remind myself of what I’ve got. I’ve got to do a lot of visualizing and just keep quite chilled and quite relaxed.

As you know, this year the new adidas campaign is all about overcoming pressure. How do you apply that in your own life? How do you overcome pressure during big events like this summer’s Games?
I just try to take things in my stride and don’t put too much pressure on myself. Just take things as they come, and just enjoy it and embrace every moment. I think the more you think about something, the more stressed you get about it. Whatever happens, happens, you’ve just got to enjoy it. That’s the main thing, just embrace every moment you’ve got. With the Olympic and Paralympic Games, they only happen every four years so you do just have to take every opportunity you get.

Do you have any advice that you’d give to the next gen of inspiring athletes in terms of pressure?
It’s really important not to think about it too much. Don’t overthink and if you’re stressing, go to the athletes and ask them what you can do to keep yourself calm. We’re always here to give advice and you know, take everything and also take every opportunity you can get because in sport is such a small journey, just embrace it.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you have any standout athletes or role models that you look up to particularly any women in the space that you look up to?
I am, I’m really inspired by Jessica Ennis-Hill, obviously she’s been under so much pressure, and then having to come back in having a baby and then winning in Rio 2016 was just so phenomenal. I really love her attitude and she’s such a lovely person as well.

 

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A post shared by Livvy Breen (@livvy_breen)

What keeps you motivated?
Let’s say that a competition goes well or I’ve got a medal or hit a PB, I always think: what can I do better? What can I improve on? I think that’s what keeps me motivated, I’m a very determined person so I’m always hungry for more.

We love to hear it. What’s on your running playlist? Do you have any go to songs that get you ready and pumped?
I think it would have to be “Rise Up” by Andra Day. I really like the song, and then it’s very cheesy, but I like “We Are the Champions” by Queen.

Whatever gets you motivated, right? In that same vein, how do you decompress after a big training session or game? How do you practise self-care and wellness?
I think for me, because I’m not normally just Libby, I’m always Athlete Libby, I always try to take myself on holiday, chill by the beach and catch up with friends and family, and friends I haven’t seen for ages. I just use that time to really focus on me and be Fun Libby as well, you know. I think that’s really important, not just being the athlete all the time. After the Paralympics this year I’m going to take a longer break because I feel like my body and mind will really need it!

Without a doubt. With that in mind then, what’s next for you? Do you have any goals post-Paris that you’re aiming for?
For me, it’s just about inspiring the next generation and trying to get more people into sport as much as possible. I really want people to realize what a difference sport can make to your life and [how it] helps with disability as well. It has done for me and I want people to realize that it can do the same for them. I think after London 2012, loads of people really got into sport, and I really hope that having Paris 2024 a bit closer to home, that can happen again.

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