This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Free shipping on NZ orders over $75 NZD

Subscribe & pay 10% less on every order

Free shipping on AUS orders over $120

Tokyo Olympics Experience - Sam Tanner

Tokyo Olympics Experience - Sam Tanner

Congratulations on competing at the Tokyo Olympics Sam! The Mitchells Team is super proud of your hard work and it was pretty epic seeing you on the world stage.

Please give readers a rundown on who you are and what you do?

My name is Samuel Tanner, I am 21 years old and grew up on Papamoa beach doing a range of sports with my family of 7. We love the outdoors, adventure and very much value a healthy lifestyle. I have taken on these values into my own life as a person and athlete and find that they have shaped me into who I am today.

A couple fun facts about me:
  • I have played the bass guitar for 15 years
  • Go to Curate church in Mount Maunganui
  • I have shaped surfboards and made a caravan
  • Finally, I am a runner who specialises in the 1500m and mile track races. I have been running since I was around 5 years old at the local athletics club but only training properly since 2017. I love the sport, what it teaches you and how it takes you all around the world allowing me to meet new people and invest in new relationships!

What was your favourite memory from your time in Tokyo?

I was fortunate enough to experience this dream of mine come true. The moment for me when I realised this was happening was directly after my race. I had such high goals, a lot of which I did not meet, but all feelings of disappointment were almost completely gone as I crossed the finish line and looked up into the magnificence and glory of the Olympic stadium. The stadium had the Olympic rings everywhere: the field, the track, the seats, a flag… It was at this moment that I realised my dream came true. I was humbled thinking about the opportunity that I had in front of me and I was smiling ear to ear the whole time, regardless of whether my goals were met or not.
What about your hardest moment at the games, and how did you deal with it?

Having to deal with seeing all the successful athletes get all the media attention and having to walk past all the cameras and reporters. Because of COVID we were unable to have supporters there with us which meant I had no one to celebrate or talk to after the race except the people in the village and NZ Team. To deal with this I called family via facetime and looked through several encouraging messages on social media.
How was your experience in the Olympic village and with fellow NZ athletes?

Being my first Olympic Games, I had no other games to compare it to. This meant that I could enjoy every opportunity that was presented to me. One of the NZ team members said that I looked like a “Golden Retriever puppy… just super excited to be here.” I enjoyed getting to know my fellow NZ athletes and had heaps of fun tossing around a rugby ball and cheering on other NZ athletes.
How did you look after your physical and mental wellbeing during your time in Tokyo?

Growing up I have always used surfing as a mental “break” and I had the opportunity to do my Pre-Olympic training camp in Hawaii. This helped me to not only prepare for the games physically, but also mentally relax ahead of time for what was to come. Because of this, in Tokyo, I was relaxed, played games, read a few books and was able to just enjoy the experience.

What was the feeling of stepping onto the track pre-race with athletes from all around the world?

Stepping onto the track, looking to my side were many of the best in the world and in history. Usually I would find myself nervous for a race such as that but instead I was FROTHING toeing the line with athletes of such a high caliber.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received that has helped you become the epic person you are today?

Set extremely high goals and learn to deal with disappointment. I’m not sure who told me this, but setting high goals and learning to love failure has been something that has guided my thoughts and actions and is one of the reasons why I have achieved so much at a young age.
What advice would you give any readers who are working towards competing at the Olympics one day?

I would tell readers the same thing that I believe helped me get there: to set extremely high goals and learn to deal with failure. Also that progress isn't just about your physical improvements but also making sure that the times that you don’t see improvements can be spent improving the incremental things - making sure your gut is in good health, spending time recovering, mindfulness and so on.

What does post Olympics life look like for you? What is next?
For me, I came out of MIQ and went straight into working at the Sawmill with my dad. Since being based at University of Washington in the US I haven’t had the chance to work so it was awesome to get my hands dirty after a few months off. Next for me is to focus on getting sponsors for my travels to World Champs and Commonwealth Games in 2022, making sure that I can have a good build up and preparation, hoping I can get an MIQ spot when I return. So if there are any readers out there in a position to sponsor me in any way possible, please don’t be afraid to reach out!


Related blog posts


No more products available for purchase