Lou Gittens started as a highjumper. During her career she broke the British record 4 times and went on to represent Great Britain at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. She then went on to become a coach, working with England as a jumps coach and team manager at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. She is now the manager of Trojans Ladies 1st XI. Find out more about this extraordinary journey below...
Name: Lou Gittens
What was the first sport you took part in?
At school I took part in all sports available, at about the age of 15 I was picked to compete in the Athletics team as a high jumper and that was the real start of my sporting career and pathway
What made you decide to take part that first time?
I was selected for the schools athletics team after one of the PE staff identified me as having some ability as a high jumper, I really enjoyed being involved with the team, loved competition and being able to succeed in this area.
What is it about sport that has made you continue to be involved since?
Once you become involved in sport, the people, the travel, the competition, the excitement and fun it is difficult to stop, the challenges remain and situations and roles changes but the fundamental elements remain
What is the proudest moment of your sporting life?
May 1980 over a period of 10 days breaking a longstanding British record, setting 4 more records and being the first female in Britain to jump over 1.90cms.
You competed in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, What was being an Olympic athlete like?
Scary at first, very exciting, a real sense of responsibility
How did you move from being an athlete to a coach and an international coach?
I was asked to help out at a local school and club and became more and more involved working with a group of very dedicated athletes, I worked with County and regional teams and then was selected to work with England and GB teams as a jumps coach and then manager
How did you find yourself involved with hockey at Trojans?
Really the same pathway as many parents it was to help support the club and my own family, to improve the experience they had, I helped with junior teams as a manager, ran the fitness sessions and then was asked to take on the role a Team Manager for the Ladies 1s
What makes Trojans special as a club?
Certainly special, friends, players, social activity ……….and challenge. Its a club with loads of potential!