Canadian record-breaking hammer thrower Camryn Rogers can't stop impressing audiences
Richmond, B.C., native broke her own Canadian record (78.62 metres) in May
No wonder Camryn Rogers keeps getting better.
Just days before her 24th birthday on Wednesday, the Richmond, B.C., native continues to build on her record-breaking and promising hammer throwing career — recently adding Jack W. Davies Trophy as Athletics Canada Athlete of the Year to her growing list of honours in May.
The distinction follows a series of impressive results in the last few years. In 2021, she cracked the top five in the women's event at the Tokyo Olympics. In 2022, she struck gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in August, shortly after securing a silver medal at the world championships in Eugene, Ore., in July.
Cut to 2023, Rogers found herself breaking her own Canadian record twice. First, at the Mount San Antonio College relays in Walnut, Calif., in April, setting the mark at 77.84 metres from her previous 77.67 throw at a Collegiate Athletic Association competition last year. Then, to 78.62, at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Los Angeles Grand Prix, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, in May.
WATCH l 2012 London Olympics inspired record-breaking hammer Camryn Rogers:
The most recent result moved the Canadian to fifth in the world all-time list. The fact Rogers is the youngest in the top 40, which includes both active and retired athletes, is a huge testament to her potential and promise.
On Tuesday, Rogers will compete in the fifth Irena Szewinska Memorial in Poland, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet, in another opportunity to carry on the streak of impressive performances.
While her future accomplishments are obviously still a blank canvas for the up-and-coming hammer throwing star to paint on, Rogers is quick to look at the past and pinpoint where it all started.
Rogers and her mom, who worked primarily as a hairdresser, kept hearing from her friends and clients, some part of a local track and field club in Richmond, about how they should pay a visit to see if the young girl would develop an interest for the sport.
"I feel like for a while they were really trying to express to her how much they believed I would like track, and trying to get me to come out, start running, and join the track club," she said. "At the time it was kind of, oh, I don't know if you can make that work."
When they decided to give it a shot, it was love at first sight.
"So we ended up going out, and that was the day I met my first ever throws coach, my future teammates and saw hammer throw for the first time ever. I had never heard of it before. I was like, this event is crazy," said Rogers.
"That was kind of the beginning of everything. And it's super funny to think about now that, at 4:40 p.m., I was not even thinking about sports at all. And then, by 4:45 I was out the door ready to start my first session. It happened so quickly."
WATCH l Camryn Rogers can't stop breaking records | Athletics North:
The visit that shaped her future led to a career with the sport and, eventually, her first NCAA (US-based National Collegiate Athletics Association) title in 2019.
"[That's] the moment to me where I really believed that I could go to the Olympics... That was the first time it felt like I actually figured out how to throw a hammer. I feel like I was executing in a way I hadn't before," said Rogers.
"Then, after going to the Olympics, you know, being in the Olympic final, medalling at Worlds Commonwealths. I feel like as opposed to, can I get there? It's more like, how far can I go? Where can we go from here? Being able to ask that question is so exciting because it's always in the back of my mind."
The answer to that question will be, to say the least, an intriguing one for Canadian track and field fans to find out.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here