Brittany Crew, the most decorated women’s U SPORTS thrower in modern history, recently completed her final season with the York University Lions.
During her illustrious collegiate career, Crew won six gold and one silver medal at the U SPORTS Championships, broke Canadian, U SPORTS Championship and venue records, and had a ton of fun along the way.
After four seasons as part of the York University Lions, Brittany Crew rewrote the record books, giving the Lions everything she had on and off the track. For Crew, the Lions gave her so much more, a sense of belonging, a family.
“I bought into the ‘Lion Pride’ and ‘Lion Family’ motto that they had going, and finally I felt like I was accepted somewhere,” said Crew. “I felt part of the pack, part of the family and in good hands.”
Transferring from Eastern Michigan in 2013, the Mississauga-native admits she was not completely herself when she first arrived at York. Injured and battling depression, with the guidance of her coach Richard Parkinson and the rest of the Lions team, she was able to get back on track.
Crew would get more than back on track, breaking numerous collegiate records. The 2016 season was huge for her, setting the Ontario University Athletics record in the shot put and weight throw with a throw of 17.49 metres and 18.75 metres, respectively, two records that she broke again this year with throws of 17.77 metres and 18.86 metres. At the U SPORTS Championships this year, she was named Field Athlete of the Year and capped it off with another U SPORTS record-setting shot put performance with a throw of 17.56 metres.
Out of all her university performances, for Crew it was U SPORTS Championships in 2016 at York University that remain the most memorable. Not only was the atmosphere different, but her mom was able to watch her compete.
“Having my mom there while winning two gold medals was definitely the highlight of my Lions career; it was important to me,” said Crew. “Being able to compete at home that year was kind of like how a lot of people got to compete at home during the Pan American Games, you just kind of feed off the energy of the crowd.”
Finishing up her kinesiology degree at York University, Crew is set to turn pro in 2019. She has already had a taste of what it’s like competing on the world circuit. Setting the Canadian record of 18.60 metres in the shot put last year before a foot injury derailed her season, Crew is now just relieved that it did not happen during an Olympic year.
Now healthy, she believes she can do better and understands what it takes to compete with the world’s best. With her goals set, it is now about execution.
“The goal would be to one day win an Olympic medal,” said Crew. “Once you get to a high level, it’s the extra little things that matter. It’s going to take a little bit more discipline, looking at different aspects of nutrition that I haven’t been totally serious about, proper recovery, small things like that to get the upper hand.”
Before Crew takes on the world, she wants to take one more moment to thank York University and the York Lions for everything they have done for her.
“I’d like to thank York for the four years that I was with them, for their support throughout the community and through the coaching staff. To my teammates, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Every one of you have your own strengths and when you come together as a team, you learn a lot about everyone. My message for the team would be to believe in yourself. A lot of my teammates over the years have counted themselves out as the underdog. A lot of things happen during the day and everyone feels just as nervous as the next person. Confidence is key, you need to believe in yourself or else you will not accomplish your dreams.”