AUT Millennium Gym Instructor, AUT Millennium Scholarship Athlete, NorthSport Olympic Weightlifting Club Life Member, New Zealand Weightlifter, Olympian.
Those are just some of the involvements Tracey Lambrechs has with AUT Millennium. Tracey will tell you it is a place she happily calls her second home.
Like many people who are involved with AUT Millennium, Tracey began life with North Harbour Bays Athletics, joining the club in 1999 when she moved from South Africa with her family.
Tracey was a keen athletics participant and a strong competitor who was heavily involved in shotput, javelin, discuss and hammer.
In 1999 Tracey recalls AUT Millennium being something of a vision, with fundraising beginning to gain momentum.
Little did she know, with the building of AUT Millennium, then Millennium Institute of Sport and Health, her weightlifting career was about to begin.
“Once the facility was built I became an Avery Foundation Scholarship Athlete and was able to train and have access to the sports hall, as well as the athletics stadium.”
“Whilst training in the sports hall I was introduced to a lot of new athletes and sports clubs, NorthSport Weightlifting being one of them. Once I got involved with the weightlifting club in 2003 I never really left.”
Tracey joins a long list of New Zealand weightlifters who have developed through NorthSport Weightlifting, including Olympians Nigel Avery, Richard Patterson and Mark Spooner.
Highlights to date include numerous New Zealand records and national titles, two World Championship representations, 2010 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games.
In 2016 Tracey reached the pinnacle of the sport by becoming only the second female weightlifter to represent New Zealand at an Olympic Games.
“My highlights from weightlifting vary from meeting amazing people to representing New Zealand at the Olympics”, she explains.
“I have been very fortunate to have the career I’ve had, good times and the bad.”
In 2004, as Tracey’s weightlifting career began to flourish, she was recruited as an AUT Millennium Gym Instructor; which she says was integral to being able to base her life at the facility, focus on training and achieve her goals.
Now, over 10 years later, Tracey is an important part of the Gym staff and a much loved trainer and friend to countless members.
“I’m passionate about this organisation because the people I interact with, work with and am supported by are so amazing”, she says.
“AUT Millennium has always found a way to help me be a fulltime athlete and support myself financially. They have helped me fundraise for big campaigns and just about every day people will ask about my training or competitions coming up.”
Helping members with their workouts and leading the Gym Member ‘Mix n Mingles’ are particular highlights for Tracey, aligning her passion for event management and helping AUT Millennium Gym members get the most out of their membership.
“What makes me love this place is that it’s not only the athletes who are looked after, everyone is cared for”.
“School children are made to feel inspired and that nothing is impossible, the Swim School children become more confident after their lessons and I love when the Gym members leave telling me how great and happy they feel.”
It’s a testament to Tracey that she is able to be invested so successfully in a wide range of training and work commitments, and she is thankful for the part AUT Millennium has played.
“Over the years AUT Millennium has given my weightlifting club a place to call home, a job which allows me to train, as well as travel for competitions”, she says.
“They have also financially contributed to my weightlifting campaigns and competitions while also being ever so supportive verbally and online.”
Tracey’s next challenge is the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where she will be competing in the newly formed women’s under-90kg division.
Qualification would see Tracey compete at her third Commonwealth Games and she goes knowing she is supported, as always, by her ever-growing family of Gym members, NorthSport Weightlifting members and wider AUT Millennium community.
Everyone wishes her all the best.