'I lost all motivation' - Olympian Tom Walsh says family support helped him through recent 'dark times'

With rock music blaring across Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub in Christchurch, it’s fair to say Kiwi shot put champion Tom Walsh is back in his zone.

However, he admitted to 1 NEWS lately it's been tough to stay in that mindset with all his major international events cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 for at least the next year.

“I lost all motivation,” Walsh told 1 NEWS.

“I started to realise the chances of competing overseas were pretty slim and definitely went through pretty dark times."

Walsh said he often questioned why he was lifting weights, working on technique and other draining tasks but thanks to the support of his family, teammates and coaching staff, he managed to get through some of his darkest days.

“We talked a lot about this – when I do retire, I’ve got to have something else in my life because I get this energy from throwing, excitement from throwing, this drive, motivation and all this stuff,” he said.

“But I’ve got to find something else long-term to do that and fill that gap.”

At just 28, Walsh is already a New Zealand sporting great and Timaru's golden boy, having won world championships and the Commonwealth Games.

But there's one more gold to get.

“Even though I got bronze [at the Rio Olympics] it could’ve gone a lot worse but also a lot better,” Walsh said.

“It’s something I really want to achieve.”

With a domestic competition in Napier this weekend, Walsh says he's in the best space mentally and physically that he has been in months.

“I enjoy this. I enjoy the life tuple, I enjoy competing, I enjoy throwing far, I enjoy spending time with other shot putters talking s***. So it was good time to reflect and rediscover myself a little a bit and realise, ‘Yup, I love the sport’ - these are the reasons I do it.”

After Napier, a date with Tokyo will become Walsh’s focus with a simple mantra helping him get there.

“We’re gonna keep going.”