Mackenzie Bailee Mielczarek is a javelin athlete who was awarded a Tier 1 Scholarship within the 2023 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program. Her Mentor is hockey’s first Olympic gold medalist, Sharon Buchanan OAM.
Mackenzie was born in Geelong, Victoria in 2003. After trialling many different sports, Mackenzie decided to give athletics a go and signed up for Little Athletics at Corio Athletic Club at 9 years old and fell in love. As a little athlete, Mackenzie was able to try all the events and at 10 years old she decided to try some javelin training, it only took one session, and she was hooked.
Through Little Athletics, Mackenzie was able to compete at competitions and make her first state team, it was all this that made her want to pursue javelin competitively and so she joined Corio Senior Athletic Club at 12 years old where she was able to go to more competitions and compete at nationals where she won her first National title in the U14 women’s javelin in 2016.
In 2017, Mackenzie spent nearly 12 months away from the sport due to a stress fracture in her foot. During this time, she continued to train and focussed on rehab in the hopes of coming back stronger than ever. The time spent away from javelin was extremely difficult for Mackenzie, especially missing out on the 2017 National Championships, as she was the favourite being ranked number one. The disappointment of injury and missed opportunity only drove Mackenzie to work harder than ever and came back in 2018 with more determination.
Since 2016, Mackenzie has won five National titles and has been the number 1 ranked junior in her age group since 2016.
Mackenzie set the Australian Athletics Championship meet record throwing a whopping 54.91m at the 2021 Australian Junior Athletics Championships.
Shortly after, she qualified for the 2021 Australian World U20 Championship team.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the team from travelling to Nairobi for the Championships. Instead, the first time Mackenzie wore the green and gold was at the 2021 Oceania invitational where she was managing an injury but still threw off a short approach – 49.82m.
Injuries and pandemic disappointment didn’t deter her. In 2022, she placed first at the Oceania Junior Athletics Championships with a throw of 54.64m and setting a new Oceania record.
After missing out on the 2021 Worlds due to the pandemic, Mackenzie was once again selected in the Australian World U20 Championship team who got to travel (Covid free) to Colombia for the championships in 2022.
Whilst juggling training and competition, Mackenzie graduated high school in 2020 and went on to study Exercise and Sport Science at Deakin University as well as working and coaching. She plans to finish her degree and work in the sports industry or potentially return to university and study aerospace engineering in the hopes of following her other dream of joining the Air force one day.
“For me being selected as a SAHOF scholarship recipient provides assurance that I am a promising athlete and that people believe in my abilities and potential enough to want to support me and shows me that I’m on the right track. As a young athlete breaking into the international competition scene there’s a lot of unknowns, concerns and questions that I have and having the ability to ask Sharon who’s experienced the pressures, disappointments, triumphs and everything international competition presents about their experience and hear their tips and tricks is such a valuable opportunity that I’m so excited to utilise.”– Mackenzie Mielczarek on being selected as a 2023 Tier 1 Scholarship Holder.
Honours & Achievements
- 2021: Oceania invitational – participant (49.82m)
- 2021: Australian Junior Athletics Championships – 1st (54.91m)
- 2022: Oceania Junior Athletics Championships – 1st (54.64m) & Oceania Record
- 2022: Gold Coast Junior Invitational – participant (54.28m)
- 2022: Australian Athletics Junior Championships – 1st (51.68m)
- 2023: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder
Mentor Sharon Buchanan said: “I am excited to have the opportunity to mentor Mackenzie Mielczarek, a confident, passionate and talented Javelin athlete striving to reach her goals and committed to her journey to compete on the World Stage. Although coming from a team sport such as hockey that has little parallels in terms of skill set, the physical and mental skills to achieve these goals are not so different. To surround oneself with positive, honest influences and people who support your dreams was important to me. I look forward to being one of those people for Mackenzie and hope my experiences can in some way help her on her journey.”