Paralympic and three-time World Champion, Dan Greaves – one of Great Britain’s most experienced Paralympians – is set to join Altis.
The Lougborough-based Brit has medalled at four consecutive Paralympic Games and holds multiple World Records in the discus. Now, with the 2016 Paralympic Games on the horizon – Greaves is set to relocate to Phoenix to join Altis, and put the final pieces in place on the quest to a 5th Paralympic medal.
“We are excited to welcome someone of Dan’s experience and calibre to the Altis family” said Altis Founder & CEO – John Godina. “Working with such an accomplished athlete will be a pleasure, and we look forward to helping Dan pursue his goals for more major championship success.”
Greaves’ international journey started over 15 years ago, at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics – which saw the then 18-year-old firmly make his mark on the international circuit – throwing his way to the Silver medal in the F44/46 category. Four years later, at the Athens Paralympics, Dan was crowned Paralympic champion; en-route to setting a new World Record with a distance of 55.53m. Beijing 2008 again saw Greaves claim a place on the podium – with Bronze.
Not content with three Olympic medals, 2011 was a stellar year – which brought three further World Records and a World Championship win. A year later, in front on the home crowd at the 2012 Paralympics, Dan threw a Season’s Best of 59.01m to take the Silver medal; securing his record of winning a medal at every Paralympic Games contested.
Now with preparations firmly underway on the road to Rio, we chatted to Dan to find out more.
Dan – we’re delighted to be welcoming you to the Altis family. Let’s start at the beginning – how and when did you first start throwing?
I first started throwing at my high school aged 13, when my PE teacher saw I had a talent for throwing. I was taken along to my local athletics club – Charnwood AC – where I joined and fell in love with the sport.
What is it about Discus that you love?
To me, it’s the difficult and challenging nature of the event that I find appealing – it’s such a hard art to master – and the consistency of throwing when you first start varies massively. Some days it will be really consistent, and others it will be one of the most annoying and frustrating sessions! I find it’s a love hate relationship, but it just feels amazing when you catch it right and you watch it fly.
Where you have been based most recently?
I’m based out of the High performance facility at Loughborough University. The campus is very sports focused and the High Performance Athletics centre there is a world class facility.
What were your first impressions when you first arrived at Altis?
I spent a month at Altis in April this year. It was great to train with John and his group for the month. The environment is a very professional and full of positivity. Everyone at Altus really goes out of their way to accommodate you with all your needs, and it was so refreshing to spend time around people who motivate you and want to get the best out of you.
So what made you want to then make the move here?
After spending some time with John and the Altis staff, it was clear to see that they have developed an incredible set up. One that is run by experienced elite coaches openly pushing themselves, and the elite level athletes, to get the best out of each individual.
The Altis environment had a positive effect on me and I believe that going forward I can benefit from every aspect of the Altis facility. Working with John and the group had a very positive influence on my opening competitions of the year and I feel the input I can gain from John’s vast experience not only as an elite throws coach but as a former Olympic medalist will be extremely valuable for my future.
What are you most looking forward to about the move here?
I’m really looking forward to working with the group, getting stuck into all the hard training sessions – and of course the all year round sun does have its perks!
In your opinion what sets the good apart from the great in terms of successful throwers?
I think that when a thrower goes from good to great it is a result of their dedication and commitment to the sport – shown by their ability to keep pushing themselves as far as possible.
Lastly, what are your goals for the next couple of years?
I’ve had an amazing journey so far that even I didn’t think I would be capable of at the start! My future plans are to really push the limits and try and throw over the magical 65m barrier. The first real aim would be to secure World Gold in Doha in October and Paralympic Gold in Rio in 2016. I am also really looking forward to competing in London 2017 back in the Olympic stadium which holds so many happy memories and to win a World champs on home soil and throw far is the ultimate aim.
Dan – great to chat to you – good luck with the journey ahead, and welcome to Arizona!
Photo credits: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for Aviva.