Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Graduation's a weight off his shoulders

Olympic weightlifting coach Adam Storey graduates tomorrow after completing his PhD. Photo / Natalie Slade
Olympic weightlifting coach Adam Storey graduates tomorrow after completing his PhD. Photo / Natalie Slade

University wasn't about hacky sack or long, lost afternoons in Shadows Bar for Adam Storey.

The 30-year-old will graduate tomorrow after completing a PhD looking at how the body recovers from strenuous weightlifting.

"Three years is the ballpark timeline that they want you to complete in, but with everything that was going on I was very grateful to actually get it done in four," Mr Storey said.

"Everything that was going on" was coaching and travelling with weightlifters to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, London Olympics and other competitions in Malaysia, Fiji, France, Samoa and Australia.

There was also an even more important trip to Rarotonga - to marry his "extremely patient" partner, Serena.

"She actually allowed us to change our wedding date three times, because I always had something else coming up. In the end we got there."

Mr Storey will join more than 2000 others in the University of Auckland spring graduation ceremonies.

His time studying was an "interesting challenge", with days starting at 4.30am.

"I'd sneak into the gym early morning, go to uni, finish coaching in the evening and arrive back around 7.30pm, I was kind of burning the candle at both ends, so it was a pretty hard slog.

"Even while I was over in India for the Commonwealth Games and over in London for the Olympics, in between training sessions or competition days I was bloody typing away furiously trying to do my PhD."

Mr Storey said he was given a warning at the beginning of his PhD by an acquaintance who had just finished his own.

"Unfortunately he went through two relationship break-ups over the course of it, so he was giving me the heads up, and that got me a little bit worried. But Serena, she was amazing."

And while graduating will be a sweet reward, it will not bring with it too much downtime.

Mr Storey is coaching six athletes aiming for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, and another clutch of promising juniors.

He also works in research at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health in Mairangi Bay, supervising master's and PhD students.

- NZ Herald

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