By | Gracie King | Feature Editor
Wake up early. Train. Go to class. Go to work. Do your homework. Eat. Sleep. Wake up early again and place 14th in the world in the shot put track and field event. This is an average day in the life of the phenomenal few student-athletes who put their heart and souls into their sport. More specifically, this is an average day in the life of Francois Prinsloo, a South Alabama track star from Capetown, South Africa.
After nearly qualifying for the shot put event at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, Francois Prinsloo is as driven as ever to train harder, get stronger and do better. He views his past achievements and records as motivation in his daily training.
“I had a great season this year, but right now in my off-season, all I think about is how I want to be even better than me during that season. The things I have achieved and the things I haven’t yet achieved. That’s what’s influencing me. Myself,” Prinsloo said when asked who in his life continues to motivate him.
Prinsloo, a sophomore Biomedical Sciences major, has been determined to come to America and prove himself his whole life, a determination that continues to drive him today. South Alabama track and field coaches began taking notice of Prinsloo during his high school athletic career, where he was competing internationally at a young age.
“Growing up, my parents took the time to explain to me and my brother about our family’s financial situation so I understood at about third grade that I had to do something so my parents wouldn’t have to worry about paying for university. Fast forward a few years and my track and field high school career was at its peak and I was competing at international competitions around the world. That was when the coach here at South noticed me and reached out to me offering a scholarship and just like that all the stars pretty much aligned for me,” Prinsloo says about his journey from South Africa to South Alabama.
Though his past triumphs continue to motivate and inspire him, Prinsloo looks to embolden his inner child who suffered from being bullied by his classmates throughout school.
“Everyday I push myself to become better than yesterday. I want to become a person that the younger me would be so incredibly proud of and look up to. That same sniveling, bullied kid that thought he would probably be better off dead…I want to prove him wrong. I want to show myself that I can be extraordinary,” Prinsloo said of his childhood bullying experiences.
While Prinsloo is eager to excel in his athletic career at South, he also has plans of becoming a veterinarian after he graduates. If his tenacity and determination have proven anything, it’s that this young athlete is capable of extraordinary things.