Britney Henry, hammer thrower and human extraordinaire, is announcing her retirement from track and field. Brit has been such a cherished member of our team, from meeting her in Des Moines in 2013 to her 7th place finish at USA's this summer. Thank you for sharing your personality and mojo with us, Brit! We love you!
You've been a hammer thrower for over 17 years. What is your favorite throwing memory?
It is so hard to just pick out one memory from my throwing career. I would have to say that at least every year that I threw, I had a pretty epic event happen to me. Either during a competition or afterward:)
The one memory that I will hold dear to my heart is the one and only USA team that I made, NACAC Under 23 meet in the Dominican Republic in 2006. Not only did I place 3rd at the meet but I made lifelong friendships. During the trip Kara, Dana, Russ, Adam and I competed hard and enjoyed the island life harder. I am forever thankful for their friendship and support through the years. I am pretty sure that when I am on my death bed, I will remind Dana about the time she climbed a coconut tree.
What advice do you have for track and field athletes coming out of college who want to continue competing? Re sponsorships? Training? Prioritizing parts of life? Keeping grounded?
I will give them the advice that my coach, Lance Deal, gave to me when I first came out of college: “You better like this sport a whole lot because you are going to be giving a lot of yourself to this event” —or something like that. I would add; keep a balanced lifestyle and remember every day why you fell in love with your event.
The balance lifestyle comes into play because as athletes we can get so involved in our event that we lose touch with what is going on in the outside world. I encourage athletes to have friends who have no idea about track and field. They help you stay grounded and keep you in touch with the world outside.
The love of the sport comes into play when you most need it. I always needed to think back to the day I started throwing the hammer and how much fun I had on days that I would drill the hammer to death. I hated drills and always will but drills made me the best hammer thrower that I could be.
Let's talk body image. You're super strong! and confident. And I’m not even getting to your sweet dance moves. What makes you so awesome? Seriously, what would you tell a HS girl who shies off of a sport because of body image?
Body image to me is expressing all the hard work I put into my body to make it a hammer throwing machine. As you can tell I am on the smaller size for a hammer thrower and I loved it. I loved that I was small and could throw the heck out of the hammer. When my coach suggested that I needed to put on weight to throw further, I had a real issue with it. I didn’t want to be bigger, I wanted to stay smaller so I could prove to myself and others that I could throw it far. At the end of the day, I put on some pounds and my body could handle the hammer a little better; fewer injuries and such.
On the confident end, I pretty much faked it until I made it. Honestly, I was never 100% confident in my ability to throw the hammer far. It wasn’t until last year that I truly believed that I was growing and building each week. I knew going into Nationals that I was going to throw a season’s best. Each meet I threw further and I could feel that my body was progressing upward. It also helped me tremendously to visualize the whole competition beforehand. Once I got that nervousness out of competing, I was able to let my confidence flourish. Really wish I would have started doing that sooner in my career;).
To all the high school girls out there, you are building a machine; you are just starting and developing the key components. Be proud of what you are building and embrace every step you take towards your goals and dreams.
We at the Nest are all nostalgic about your moments with Oiselle. Do you have a favorite moment (other than the hike at Leavenworth Birdcamp haha)? How do you describe Oiselle to others? And what is your favorite #flystyle of all time?
So. Many. Great. Memories! From meeting you all in a bar for the first time to dancing the night away at the after-parties, it is so hard to choose one.
For me, walking in New York Fashion week pretty much tops the list. It was my first time around all the amazing Oiselle athletes and staff and I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. I loved that Bob sent an Uber to pick up a hammer for the show, I loved being able to walk with it, and I loved the reaction that I got when I came to the end of the runway in front of all the cameras.
The hike at Birdcamp is the worst. Period. I will never hike that far ever again! :)
When I talk about Oiselle to others, the first sentence that comes out is “They are more like family, then a sponsor”. And that is the honest truth. You all brought me into a family, and never expected more than just performing to my best, not any other standard.
My all-time favorite Flystyle would have to be anything lux. I will forever buy anything that you all put out that is Lux. It looks, feels and fits great; couldn’t ask for much more out of an amazing fabric.
We love you Brit! Thank you for being so classy, authentic, open, and uniquely you. Fans for life - because in our world Hammer Time is forever.