Canadian track and field athlete Alysha Newman (aged 26) is a specialized pole vaulter. The Ontario native is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in the women’s pole vault following the 2018 Games in the Gold Coast, where the Canadian national set a new Games record of 4.75 metres (15.6 ft). The 26-year-old pole vaulter also became the Canadian national women’s champion and made her Olympic debut representing Canada in 2016. Alysha Newman initially set school pole vaulting records at the University of Miami. Here are some interesting facts about Alysha Newman’s childhood which involved injuries and bullying, her fight to compete for Canada and her harassment allegations with her boyfriend.
Alysha Newman: 13 Intriguing Facts About The Canadian Pole Vaulter
1. Quick Facts
Born: June 29, 1994
Birthplace: London, Ontario
Home Province: Ontario
Hometown: Delaware, Ontario
Residence: Delaware, Ontario
Alysha Newman came into this world on 29 June 1994. Alysha grew up with three siblings named Kris, Brianna, and Dylan Newman.
Alysha Newman’s initial sport was gymnastics, which she was forced to let go of at the age of 13 after injuring her lower back vertebrae.
After one year off playing where she initially considered ice hockey and diving, she chose track and field, and was directed by a school trainer to vaulting due to her gymnastics background.
3. NCAA career
In 2013, the Ontario native joined Eastern Michigan University, soon becoming Mid-American Conference champion and competing in the NCAA tournament.
Following her coach Jerel Langley, Alysha was shifted to the University of Miami, and Newman graduated in 2016, majoring in exercise physiology with a minor in nutrition.
The Ontario native’s successfully cleared 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in) at the University of Miami’s Hurricane Alumni Invitational on 9 April 2016, breaking the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) record, the University of Miami school record, and the Canadian National record in the women’s pole vault. In June, this female pole vaulter took home the silver medal at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships and finished as a six-time NCAA Division I All-American.
4. Alysha Newman was bullied growing up
The national pole vaulter was not the most popular kid when she was growing up.
“I got bullied tons while I was in high school and elementary school,” Newman said. “The only time I wasn’t bullied was at gymnastics, so I was one of those people that constantly got better so that I could be at gym. I knew if I was the best gymnast, or in the elite group, I would do half-days at school.”
5. Playing for her country
A young gymnast, the Canadian pole vaulter once aspired to represent Canada doing gymnastics, however, an injury forced her to take a year away from the sport and retire from gymnastics.
To remain active after her recovery, Alysha Newman’s mom signed her up for track and field after one of her teachers saw her beating the boys during school races. After breaking records in her first few pole vault meets, the young gymnast’s dream to represent Canada came back to her. Soon, the future Olympian became the first Canadian high school girl to vault over four meters and went on to set national youth and junior records.
In 2014, Newman represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games, taking home a bronze medal. Four years later, Newman set the Commonwealth pole vault record en route to earning herself the gold medal in Gold Coast, but her 2018 season would be cut short by a knee injury. When the Ontario native returned in 2019, she broke her own Canadian record twice, hitting the 4.77m mark in July 2019 at a meet in Germany.
6. Newman credited her parents for exposing her to different opportunities
“My mom put me in every single sport,” the pole vaulter said.
“She was throwing me in tap dancing, hockey, soccer, baseball, I even did piano and singing lessons. But the moment I was in gymnastics, she saw I didn’t want to leave. I happened to get too tall and had to retire at 13, but once I found track she saw that passion again.”
While the young sporty girl was being pushed athletically at home, she was doing it at the expense of looking like one of the “cool kids.”
The future Olympian decided to take on all challengers at an early age.
“I have to thank a little bit of my mom for that,” Newman said. “I had braces, I had glasses, I had a mushroom cut all at once. I was the whole package. When I was at recess, I wanted to beat all the boys. Any guy that wanted to race against me, I never thought that they would beat me. Ever.”
Alysha battled it out in the pole vault event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning the bronze medal.
The 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in) vault ranked this Ontario native as fourth in the world in women’s pole vault at that time.
In July 2016, the female pole vaulter was officially named to Canada’s Olympic team. Competing in the Olympics, Alysha Newman only vaulted 4.45 m (14 ft 7 in) in qualification and missed the finals.
The Canadian vaulter competed at the first ever “Vault the Park”, a street vault at Victoria Park during the annual Rib Fest in her hometown of London, Ontario. Alysha successfully cleared 4.61 m (15 ft 1 1⁄4 in), thriving over her own Canadian women’s record.
The Canadian bettered her own national record again at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational at the University of Miami on 8 April 2017 where Newman vaulted 4.71 m (15 ft 5 1⁄4 in) in Coral Gables, Florida.
In August, the 22-year-old was a finalist in the 2017 World Championships in Athletics, finishing seventh by vaulting 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in).
In March 2018, the 23-year-old placed sixth at the 2018 World Indoor Championships with a height of 4.70 m. In April, this female pole vaulter competed at her second Commonwealth Games pole vault in the Gold Coast, taking home the gold medal with a height of 4.75 m (15 ft 7 in), equaling her personal best, and set a Commonwealth Games record.
In May 2018, while traveling to compete at the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix in Doha, the 23-year-old poles were all destroyed whilst in transit with Air Canada. She competed at the event with poles that she was forced to form a local athletics club, placing seventh. Air Canada subsequently got all of her equipment back but then Newman went on to suffer a torn patellar tendon in a warm-up at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
In February 2019, the 24-year-old took home the 2019 Indoor Meeting iKarlsruhe with a clearance of 4.71 m (15 ft 5 in), setting the Canadian indoor track and field pole vault record. In July 2019, the 24-year-old was also successful at the Stabhochsprung Jockgrim meet with a new personal best of 4.77 m (15 ft 8 in).
Competing at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, the 24-year-old took home the bronze medal in the pole vault event, clearing 4.55 m (14 ft 11 in). This female pole vaulter expressed dissatisfaction with her performance, saying she “definitely felt that I underperformed.”
Later that same month, the Canadian Olympic took home the 2019 Meeting de Paris, her first Diamond League win, and with a new Canadian record of 4.82 m (15 ft 9 3⁄4 in).
That mark ranks Alysha as the #16 vaulter of all time. She duplicated 4.82 m while finishing third in the 2019 IAAF Diamond League meet in Zürich where the women’s pole vault was held one day earlier than the other events, indoors at the Zürich Hauptbahnhof. That jump placed her tied for #12 all-time indoors and is the Canadian record.
8. Notable International Results
- Olympic Games: 2016 – 17th
- Commonwealth Games: 2018 – GOLD; 2014 – BRONZE
- Pan American Championships (junior): 2013 – GOLD
- IAAF World Championships: 2017 – 7th
- IAAF World Championships (junior): 2012 – 12th
- IAAF World Championships (youth): 2011 – 12th
9. Alysha was charged with harassment at Pennsylvania
In October 2019, Alysha and her boyfriend, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo, got into an altercation at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Chickillo was charged with simple assault, criminal mischief and harassment, while Alysha was cited for harassment.
What happened between the two?
Mr. Chickillo, 26, was arrested on Oct. 20 on charges that he assaulted Ms. Newman, 25, in their hotel room at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County. He was charged with simple assault, criminal mischief, and harassment.
Pennsylvania State Police said Alysha and her boyfriend got into an argument over table games at the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Wharton around 1:40 a.m. The fight continued in their hotel room.
There, police said, the argument got physical but Alysha and her boyfriend gave different stories to police.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo said Ms. Newman hit him in the head with her fist, according to a criminal complaint. He then pushed her to the ground, the complaint said.
Ms. Newman told police that the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo, grabbed her “by the biceps and forced her against a wall and door of the hotel room causing injuries.” She said it was after this that she punched Mr. Chickillo in the head. He then threw her to the ground, she told police.
Alysha then said that her boyfriend smashed her iPhone, according to the complaint. She locked herself in the bathroom to await police.
When troopers arrived, they said they found redness on Ms. Newman’s biceps with bruises starting to show. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo admitted to pushing Ms. Newman down, the complaint said. Police took him into custody without incident.
Eventually, the charges against Alysha and her boyfriend were dropped and the decision came after a morning meeting behind closed doors that lasted nearly two hours.
The meeting included both defendants — Mr. Chickillo and Alysha Newman — their attorneys and District Attorney Richard Bower.
District Attorney Richard Bower said the cases had been resolved.
“The two individuals involved have indicated that they obviously do not want to go forward, that they wish the best for each other,” Mr. Bower told reporters outside a courtroom in Uniontown. “Additionally, they’ve indicated to me that they have both forgiven each other for what has happened.”
This was the statement released by Ms. Newman: “Me withdrawing charges does not mean I take domestic violence lightly. There were no payoffs, no behind the scenes deals, there has been no contact between Anthony and I since the night of the incident.
“I do not condone domestic violence from males or females, because it is not right and I will forever stand behind that! This incident does not define who I am, I choose to move forward, to focus on me and the next ten months preparing for the Olympic Games. Part of my choice also means allowing myself to heal, to forgive and grow stronger.”
Alysha Newman’s attorney, Ken Horoho, also commented in an interview that his client is “an exceptional athlete in her own right … and world-class person” who will now return home to Toronto to train for the next Olympic Games, in which she hopes to represent Canada.
“This is an unfortunate situation for both parties,” her lawyer said. “At this point in her professional career, we want to get this matter behind her and move forward. … We agreed with all involved that the charges be withdrawn.”
“Every year, I have my little postcards, I write all my goals and I have actually have them stuck on the top of my ceiling so I go to bed seeing them and I wake up every morning seeing them. It’s just a strategy that I have to remind myself that hey, I can’t slack off. I still have goals to accomplish until all those sticky notes come down. I’ve got stuff to do, I’ve got work to do.”
Alysha Newman favourite quote;
“It’s the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee!” – Nicholas Sparks
11. Net worth
Alysha Newman net worth or net income is estimated to be between $1 Million – $5 Million dollars. She has made such an amount of wealth from her primary career as Pole Vaulter.
12. According to an interview with the Guardian, this world-class pole vaulter said she hated it at first
“I hated it,” the Canadian Olympian says of the sport in which she is now ranked third in the world. “I was scared of it.”
A competitive character from a young age with Olympic dreams, Alysha had to give that up after a serious back injury. A school teacher in London spotted her and eventually called her mother and suggested track and field.
“He saw me running at recess and beating all the boys,” the Canadian pole vaulter said.
Soon the future Olympian started with hurdles, then tried pole vault. The first three months were boring according to her because it was just like learning to walk with a pole.
“When we are running, you don’t use your arms,” Alysha said “It’s really awkward and it feels different.” She didn’t like it at all. “And then I went to my first meet and I jumped the meet record. And they were, like, ‘Well, it chose you.’ And so I stuck with it.”
Steady improvement followed for the future Olympian and a collegiate career at the University of Miami, and the first Olympics at Rio 2016, where she finished 17th place.
Alysha Newman was then focusing on Tokyo 2020 until the 25-year old’s knee popped last year.
The 25-year-old took the time to figure out what else she would do when the jumping stopped. So, she built a social media presence — more than 300,000 people follow this female pole vaulter on Instagram — and has interests in fashion and interior design.
According to the interview, the question of a post-track life had always nagged at her. “I had so much anxiety all the time, until I was hurt last year,” she says. “And then I was, like, now you have time to find out what else you love.” She has a side business now, with sponsors and partners, and one that still allows her to train full-time.
13. Interesting facts
- Initially a gymnast, the future Olympian transitioned to track and field, first as a distance hurdler and then the 100m hurdles.
- Joe Ryder of the London Legion Track Club introduced the future Olympian to pole vaulting at age 16 upon hearing about her gymnastics background.
- Alysha Newman enjoys movie nights, shopping, and getting her nails done during the season.
- Alysha Newman also likes going to the beach, hot yoga, and both hockey and football in the offseason.
- Alysha Newman graduated from the University of Miami in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology.
- Alysha Newman eats pasta two days before the competition and her father’s specialty sandwich on the day of.
- Alysha Newman’s favourite motto is: Never give up, never give in and never take no for an answer.
- Alysha Newman became the first Canadian high school girl to vault over 4 metres.
- At the 2017 Hurricane Alumni Invitational with a vault of 4.71 metres, Alysha Newman beat her own women’s record.