lizz panam

Throw like a girl

Elizabeth Gleadle was born in Vancouver, BC in 1988. Her parents, Dan and Sonia, enrolled her in almost every sport available throughout elementary school, but it was baseball that captured Liz’s attention. She pitched for the Vancouver Wildcats rep fastball team for a number of years, building skills that later helped her to learn javelin quickly.

In 2002, in Caroline Wittrin’s grade 8 gym class at Kitsilano, Liz threw her first javelin. When she was the only one who didn’t flip it, or hit herself in the back of the head, Ms. Wittrin invited her to try out for the track team. That year Liz won the Vancouver city-wide competition with a throw of 17m.

First national competition

In 2004, when Liz was in grade 10, Bruce Miller, a parent helping out with the high school team, coached Liz to place third at the BC High School Championships, win the BC Youth Championships, and win the Canadian Youth Championships. Before her experience that year, Liz didn’t even realize that young people could compete in track and field on a national level!

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Beginning to take on the world

That was the year that Liz decided to concentrate on track and field, and joined the Vancouver Thunderbirds Track and Field Club with Coach Laurier Primeau. This was the first individual sport Liz had pursued, and she loved being in control of the outcome of her athletic performance. After a couple of months of winter training, she decided to focus solely on javelin. In the summer of 2005, dedicating herself to track and field paid off; she was the BC and Canadian Youth Champion, and made the World Youth Team to compete in Morocco, where she threw 50.51m, breaking the Canadian youth record and finishing fifth.

Her 2005 summer performances caught the attention of many. She was pursued by NCAA Div 1 schools offering her full ride scholarships; however, she stayed in Vancouver and competed for UBC in order to continue training with her coach and remain close to family and friends. Over the course of her UBC career, she won the NAIA Championships in each of her four years of eligibility, and set the record twice.

In the summer of 2009, Liz attended the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia and threw 58.21m, finishing sixth, and breaking the Canadian Senior record. In 2011, she was the co-winner of UBC’s prestigious May Brown Trophy (Outstanding Graduating Female Athlete of the Year) for accomplishments during her years at UBC. Her coaches during this time were Laurier Primeau, Ron Bunting, and Tom Nielsen.

Moving to Lethbridge to train full time

In the spring of 2011 Liz decided to take a break from her kinesiology degree, and commit herself full time to training. She moved to a national training centre in Lethbridge, AB with coach Lawrence Steinke. It was a shock to friends and family when within 10 days of making her decision, she packed up and drove east. Moving from Vancouver to Lethbridge was a shocking change of pace, and Liz found adjusting a challenge. For the first time she experienced -40°C, owned a real winter jacket, had 6 a.m. practices, and made her life “sleep-eat-throw-lift-repeat.” Goals for the off-season of 2011-2012 were to correct years of bad technical habits, and gain strength and muscle in her core to stave off back injuries.

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Qualifying for the London Olympics

After countless throws, many exhausting weight training sessions and becoming queen of the ice bath, it all seemed to be paying off. In the 2012 season, following three personal bests (58.49m, 59.85m, and 61.15m) – two of them new Canadian records – she seemed headed to the London 2012 Olympic Games. That June, she won Olympic trials, breaking the meet record with a throw of 60.13m, and officially punching her ticket to London, where she finished 12th in the finals.

After taking the 2013 season off to recover from a back injury, Liz surprised herself by making an early comeback to not only compete in 2014, but become known as a force to be reckoned with on the international scene. She broke her own Canadian record twice, placed fifth at the Commonwealth Games, and went on to win the Birmingham Diamond League Grand Prix over a field of the world’s best throwers. She finished her season competing for Team Americas in the prestigious Continental Cup in Marrakech, where she placed third.

Pan Am gold

In 2015, Liz improved her personal best to 64.83m, and competed around the globe at Diamond League events, the World Championships, and claimed the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto!
Liz throws and lifts nine times per week between Monday and Friday. To be in her prime in 2016, she splits her time between her coach in Lethbridge, Alberta, and her physiotherapist LJ Lee ( in Vancouver, BC.

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Liz Gleadle

  • The Basics
  • Name: Elizabeth Sonia Gleadle
  • DOB: December 5th, 1988
  • Hometown: Vancouver, BC
  • Coach: Lawrence (Larry) Steinke
  • Parents: Dan and Sonia Gleadle
  • Height / Weight: 6’1 / 175lbs
  • Hair Color: Blonde
  • Eye Color: Brown
  • High School: Kitsilano Secondary School
  • Post-Secondary: University of British Columbia
  • Degree: Bachelor of Kinesiology (Science Degree)
  • Sport: Track and Field, Javelin