Name: Steven Solomon

Date of Birth: 16/05/1993

Place of Birth: Sydney Australia

Current Residence: Durham, North Carolina

Height: 6'1 ft (186cm)

Weight: 75kg

    Support Network:

    • Coach - Mark Mueller (Duke University)
    • Strength Coach - Iryna Dvoskina & Jake Holt
    • Physiotherapist- Ben Ray-Smith & Brent Kirkbride
    • Trainer: Erika Ralston (Duke University)

     

    Discipline: 400m (44.97)

    Australian Flame Number: 1011

    Education: 

    • Stanford University - Pre-med | B.A Human Biology | Notation in Science Communication
    • The Fuqua School of Business - M.S Master's of Management
    • Cranbrook High School
    • Lindfield East Public School

    Biography


    Speed has always been in my life. From my premature birth to my Olympic Final, I have always had a knack for speed.

    I was born in Sydney, Australia- into the family of my mother Lucille and father Michael Solomon. Three years later, we welcomed my younger sister Bianca into the family. The reason that I mention my family so early in this biography is because they are an essential ingredient in both my life and my speed.

    I enjoyed a very normal childhood. I grew up in East Lindfield and attended the local public school. Sport became a passion of mine from an early age. For as long as I can remember, I enjoyed both the competitive side of sport as well as the physical and mental challenges it presents. I lived a very active childhood, being conveyed from soccer training to rugby training to tennis practice to swimming lessons.

    Rugby was my preferred sport up until the age of 12. My hero was Matt Burke, the Australian fullback and kicker for the Wallabies. I idolized Mathew- spending every afternoon for the better part of two years kicking for goal with dreams of converting for the Wallabies just like Matt did.

    My change in sporting direction at the age of 12 was brought on by two factors. Firstly, I was a ‘late bloomer’ and when my opposition suddenly transformed from 4ft 5’ adolescents to 5ft 8’ beasts, I could not match the physical requirements needed to play competitive rugby. Fortunately, my lack of height and weight could be better channeled in my second sport, soccer. I had played soccer since I was 6 years old, and loved the sport. Focusing my attention on soccer saw my skills improve dramatically, and my natural speed was an added bonus that helped me secure my position on many competitive teams. In 2009, I captained the Australian Maccabiah U20 soccer team and won the Most Outstanding Potential award at my club’s award night.

    2009 was a ‘big’ year for another reason- it was the year that I began to hit my growth spurt and reshape from the skinny, petite year nine school boy to a modest 6ft 1’ man! Finally, I was able to physically compete on an ‘even playing field’ in athletics. My results began to improve as I became stronger, fitter and faster.

    Throughout high-school, I was very lucky to be at an incredibly supportive school with an even more incredible Master in Charge of Athletics- Simon Morrow. Simon encouraged me to expand my repertoire to include the 400m. I ran my first 400m race a week before my inter-high school competition in just over 52 seconds. A week later, I broke the Combined Associated School 200 and 400m record, competing in 8 events on the night. The win sparked the opportunity to compete in my state championships a fortnight later- where I ran another personal best of 48.34. All of a sudden, I found myself in the national U18 400m final, a race that I came away victorious after no more then three weeks of structured training.

    The national championship rewarded not only a gold medal, but a passionate love for the sport. I began training with my high-school hurdle coach, James Roff- who trained with a group of athletes who I later knew as “Team Fira”. The master behind the team was a short women with wicked white hair and an accent cross between broken English and Russian. At the time, little did I know that this 75 year old Ukranian women was going to become one of the most important and influential people in my life.

    I began training with Team Fira three days per week- Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. My coach Fira was incredibly nurturing with my training load. During the first year of training with Fira, I barely ran more than 3 reps. I never lifted a weight. I never even knew what strength training was. Fira took me as raw as they come and with careful and meticulous guard, began to transform me from a schoolboy athlete to an Olympian.

    With the help of Team Fira, I was able to qualify for the 2010 World Junior Championships as part of the Australian 4x400m team. I was very young at the time- in fact I was the youngest on the team at the tender age of 16. Unfortunately, our relay team struck some poor luck with injuries, and although we were able to compete at the Championships, we performed well below par. Despite the satisfactory result, the trip to Canada for the championships was a very important one for my development as an athlete in the sport of track and field. I learnt many skills such as how to handle the village life and how to manage pressure and expectation on a world stage. In addition to the athletic side of the championships, the social side was another hugely important aspect that heightened my passion for the sport. The team was filled with energetic and like-minded individuals who all were striving to be the best. This was the learning ground for me as the ‘baby’ of the team, looking up to the elders like a child to their teacher.

    Arriving back from Canada, I was determined to make more Australian teams. Training continued to improve and with it my times began to quicken. In late 2010, I broke the Australian U18 Schoolboy record in the 400m, running a time of 46.44 in my second 400m race in the space of 4 hours. This achievement was worthy of a start on the Australian Athletics Tour that began in the early months of 2011. Although I was ahead of my competition on the junior stage, the real test was to come on the senior stage, racing against Olympic, World Championship and Commonwealth Games medalists.

     My first major race on the senior stage was the 2011 Melbourne Track Classic. I won the race in a personal best of 46.12 against the best runners in the country. Three weeks later, I went on to win my first open Australian Championships in another personal best time of 45.58 at the age of 17.

     The win was a World Championship qualifier, but with my final year school studies as the priority, I was chosen to represent Australia in only the 400m relay in 2011. The championships were very exciting for me. On the first day, I saw the leaders of world track and field eating in the same dining hall as me! We ran decently in the 2011 Daegu World Championships but were unlucky not to make the final after finishing 10th.

     Upon return from Daegu in September 2011, I was in the best form of my life to date. A week after arriving home, I competed in my last interschool competition for Cranbrook. My first track event was the 200m. Just as I came off the turn, I felt a ferocious buckle in my left hamstring. I knew something was wrong, but continued running on the adrenaline of racing one last time for my school, and crossed the line in a record time of 21.22. Shortly after finishing, I was in utter agony. A scan the following day revealed the shocking news of a 8cm hamstring tear. The next five months tested me as much mentally as physically, working daily with rehabilitation exercises and treatment so that my Olympic dream could still be within reach.

    After a ill-prepared Australian Domestic season, I was able to qualify for the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona after running a championships record 45.99 at the Australian Junior Championships. A month later, I won my second Australian Open Championships in an Olympic qualifying time of 45.54.

     The Barcelona World Junior Championships had been a goal of mine since my international debut two years earlier at the same competition. After progressing through the rounds, I was able to finish 3rd in the final, running a personal best of 45.51- another Olympic qualifier. This was my sixth qualifier of the year, and I was starting to find the form necessary to make my mark at the London Olympic Games.

     It took a personal best of 45.18 to win my heat at the London Olympics and secured me a place in the semi-final. I was so nervous going into the race that whilst in the call room prior to the race, my left leg was shaking to such a degree that I was not able to put my spike on! The atmosphere in the stadium was electrifying, and giving every last molecule of energy that I had, I was able to produce my first sub 45 performance and book my lane in the Olympic final with a time of 44.97. The final had been my goal coming into the Games, and I was thrilled to achieve it. The race did not line up like it did in my dream the night before, but I was very happy with my 8th place and second fastest time ever of 45.14.

     Following the London Olympic Games, I began my scholarship at Stanford University in the United States of America. Shortly after my arrival, I injured my back which rendered me out for most of the 2013 season. Dedication to my rehabilitation once again proved invaluable, as I was able to win my first race for the Cardinal in may 2013- after 8 months off the track. The season was a very frustrating one. I was vulnerably out of shape and was struggling to produce mediocre times. Patient advice was warmly greeted by my Stanford coach Jody Stewart, and together with my physiotherapist and training team I was able to line up with the Australian 4x400m relay team at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia. The team was able to qualify for the final, a tremendous achievement with a relatively young and inexperienced quartet. The result was especially significant to me, as a poor season had knocked some of my previously high spirits, but making it to the final certainly rekindled some needed energy and motivation. 

    Championship Teams:

    • World Junior Championships 2010
    • World Championships 2011
    • World Junior Championships 2012
    • London Olympic Games 2012
    • World Championships 2013
    • 2014 Commonwealth Games
    • World Championships 2017

    Achievements:

    • Australian All School Champion 09',10'
    • Australian Junior Champion 11' 12'
    • Australian 400m Champion 11, 12', 14', 16', 17' 
    • World Junior Bronze Medalist 12'
    • London Olympic Games Finalist 12'