Connor Bell once conceded he was a ‘big kid who liked to play PlayStation’ - now he is a discus Youth Olympic Games champion after completing the performance of his life.
“I am absolutely stoked with how I went out there,” Bell said.
“I just feel like I’ve done an awesome job, coming out here and performing in front of the world’s best and I did so well and I’m just really proud of myself.”
It took two days and an average score of 133.08, from all throws, to secure gold - a dominant 18 metre victory.
“To get out on the board reasonably early in the competition was an absolute joy,” Bell said
Bell threw 66.84 metres to go well ahead of the rest, on day one of competition in Buenos Aires.
“I do not like to count my chickens before they hatch..” Bell said. “After that first throw [today], you know that was a big one, and that helped me relax a little bit.”
The 17-year-old, who was coach by Dame Valerie Adams for a few months early in his career, admits he felt the pressure coming into the Youth Olympic Games.
“There was quite a bit of pressure coming into this… a lot of emotion and I’m just pleased I was able to pull it off.”
For the first time during one of his competitions, the music was blaring and the New Zealand flag hung proud on the stands - and he used it to his advantage.
“I just had a bit of a dance, tried to shake all of the emotion out of me,” he said.
“The coolest part was when I went to throw, the crowd disappeared and it was just me and the discus.
Bell admits he has little time to celebrate the victory, knowing there are more milestones in his career that he’d like to achieve.
“This is a big tick off the checklist, it’s a big milestone… but moving forward World Juniors is the next check on the checklist.”
And after that, well, the world senior stage is calling too.
Buenos Aires 2018 Olympic Summer Youth Games Connor Bell Athletics