We all need a work-life balance. Jazmin Sawyers has found hers through music.
“Run and jump. That’s all I need to do. I don’t need to make things complicated.”
In competition, British long jump champion Jazmin Sawyers has learned to keep things simple. Away from it, she just can’t resist.
After gaining her undergraduate degree in law from the University of Bristol in the summer of 2016, you could forgive the 22-year-old for taking things easy. But that’s not the way Sawyers operates.
A keen singer songwriter, she is set to appear as a contestant on Saturday night prime time television in the popular talent show The Voice UK.
This is not a career change. Her priority remains athletics. Singing has always been an outlet for her creative side. A release.
“It’s so separate from athletics,” she says. “That’s how I wind down.” Making the step up to appear on The Voice is just that: a step up from a hobby that has served her well.
“The tunnel vision mentality is great for some people, but it wouldn’t work for me. I go a little bit crazy when I don’t have things to do.”
It’s hard to argue when you assess last year’s results: Sawyers won British titles indoors and out (in the latter victory improving her PB to 6.75m); claimed the silver medal at the Amsterdam European Championships; and made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, progressing to the final where she finished 8th.
It wasn’t all an unmitigated success. In March, at the Portland World Indoors, she finished 13th with a best jump of 6.31m, 36cm short of the personal best she held at the time.
“That was horrible,” says Sawyers. “It was such an amazing event, they made such a big deal out of it and it was so much fun, I kind of went this is something else, I have to do something else. I got too excited.”
It was nonetheless a valuable lesson. Keep it simple: just run and jump. “It gave me a new sense of motivation,” she adds.
That drive was evident in her 2016 outdoor season, where she outshined Great Britain’s more experienced long jumpers, world championships medallists Lorraine Ugen and Shara Proctor.
Sawyers, whose past medals include bronze at the 2012 world juniors and silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, describes last year as “easily the best” of her career, and she’s hungry for further success. “I think it’s because I’m a competitive person that I’m always wanting more,” she says.
Now based in Birmingham and training under world and Olympic heptathlon medallist Kelly Sotherton, Sawyers has no shortage of motivation with the London 2017 World Championships on the horizon. She was in the stadium on Super Saturday at London 2012, witnessing Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford claim Olympic golds on a raucous night for British athletics. Understandably, she wants in.
“Knowing that it’s going to be a British crowd in that stadium gives me so much more motivation to be there, to be a part of it and to do well,” she says. “I have to be there.”
Making showbiz appearances might raise eyebrows in some quarters, but Sawyers rebuffs any suggestion that going on the telly will disrupt her training preparations. In fact, the opposite applies.
“I’m very much the kind of athlete that needs to be happy outside of athletics to be doing well in it,” she says. And singing makes her happy.
“Doing music stuff takes up a fraction of the time that university did,” she insists. “And it’s a great opportunity. I love it.”
To see the final product of Sawyers' latest shoot, get FS Magazine's March 2017 issue, on sale from February 21st.