Olympian Alysha Newman is Writing Her Own Rule Book

By Erin Gee

Most popular


Photographed on location at the Fairmont Royal York
Photography: Ilich Mejia; Photo Assistant: Jennifer Bonnell; Stylist: Shea Hurley/Cadre; Styling Assistant: Esme McBride; Hair/MUA: Simone Otis/Cadre; Managing Editor/Interviewer: David Stol

As competitive track and field pivots from its indoor to outdoor season, we caught up with Olympian Alysha Newman on how she seeks to have an impact beyond sports, pivoting herself from athlete to entrepreneur. This year has been off to a promising start for the 28-year-old Olympic pole vaulter; she recently won the World Indoor Tour, a comeback from a 2021 concussion that led to a disappointing showing in the ensuing Summer Olympics (the delayed 2020 Games).


But despite the health challenges Newman’s faced over the past couple of years, her tenaciousness remains unfazed, a gift she’s had since childhood. Before settling on track and field, Newman was a gymnast until she received medical advice to retire from the sport at 13. Unfulfilled without a competitive outlet, Newman’s parents set out to find a new sport for their daughter’s energy and desire to represent Canada at the Olympics one day. So, in quintessential “Alysha” style, she selected the highest-flying sport she could think of.


“I didn’t even care what event I went to the Olympics for, I just wanted to be there and represent Canada. So, I saw a goal very, very early and needed to fill those steps to make that goal come true,” she said in an interview with Glory Sports on route to her training facility in Florida. “Pole vaulting just felt very ‘me.’ […] If you know me and my personality, you’ll get what I mean.”

Alysha Newman poses in a pink Valentino dress.
Dress and shoes by Valentino, available at Saks Fifth Avenue; bracelet by Tiffany & Co.; earrings and ring by Mejuri.

Incredibly, at her first meet, Newman got a taste of what was to come. “I broke the meet record my first time ever pole vaulting in a competition, so I guess it kind of chose me,” she laughs. “[After that I thought], I can do this. I want to break all the other records now.” At present, Newman holds a Canadian record in the pole vault (4.82m), is a two-time Olympian, and owns the pole vault record at the Commonwealth Games.


RELATED: How Andre De Grasse Turned Pressure Into Poise

Pole vaulting marries Newman’s competitive drive with her penchant for entertaining crowds of spectators. For her, competition is about more than just breaking records, it’s about showing what the human body is capable of, providing meet-goers with a show, and inspiring the next generation, whether that’s in track and field or in her entrepreneurial pursuits.


“You never know what type of inspiration will turn into their goals and dreams,” she says.

Shirt and skirt by FENDI; earrings by Jenny Bird; sing by Tiffany & Co.; timepiece by Rado; shoes by Gianvito Rossi.
Alysha Newman poses against curtains in a green Valentino dress.
Dress by Valentino; earrings by Bulgari; shoes by Stuart Weitzman, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

But while her athletic performance and personality have offered Newman an exceptional online following – currently sitting at 595k Instagram followers (and counting) – she’s received a criticism from brands and track and field’s more conservative fans for her social media presence. Her approach to digital media is largely inspired by a desire to show an authentic insight to her interests (fashion, timepieces, and other hobbies such as golf) and speak on social issues (mental health, sexuality, and self-expression) that make her more than just an Olympian. Most brands appreciate the authenticity, like Rado, the luxury timepiece brand who just recently signed a partnership with the two-time Olympian. But to others, her unwillingness to filter herself seems intimidating to their carefully crafted branding.

As a Rado ambassador, luxury, innovation, and performance are core values that define the partnership that Alysha Newman has with the Swiss watch manufacturer. 


What excites you most about your partnership with Rado?


The lifestyle and luxury alignment is very exciting to bring a unique partnership to life. It’s not often that I get to work with a company that shares the same values around hard work, precision, and durability. This is reflected in both my career and Rado’s offering.


Shirt and skirt by FENDI; earrings by Jenny Bird; sing by Tiffany & Co.; timepiece by Rado; shoes by Gianvito Rossi.

What considerations do you make when aligning with potential partners?

The values and authenticity of the brands I work with are at the core of how I approach partnerships.

Are there any core traits that you feel crossover between Rado and yourself?

The luxury nature of the Rado brand with a twist of modern branding, technology, and innovation are at the essence of the partnership.

Shirt and skirt by FENDI; earrings by Jenny Bird; sing by Tiffany & Co.; timepiece by Rado; shoes by Gianvito Rossi.

What is your favourite Rado piece? Why?


When I was introduced to the brand, I was originally drawn to the Rado Captain Cook x Marina Hoermanseder Heartbeat. I love the collaboration and the uniqueness of the timepiece. I also find the Rado Centrix to be a very elegant watch with a sensuous design, which I loved wearing on the set of this photoshoot.


What has been your favourite experience with Rado so far?


My first event at the Glory Professional Women of the Year panel. I met Rado for the first time and was captivated by their timepieces. Their team was great to me and the relationship blossomed into a partnership from there.

Rado Centrix Automatic Diamonds.
Alysha Newman poses in a jumpsuit by Narces.
Jumpsuit by Narces; necklace, earrings, and bracelet by Bulgari; shoes by March & Mach, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Alysha Newman sits on a window sill wearing a dress by House of Gallagher
Dress by House of Gallagher; earrings and bracelet by Tiffany & Co.; shoes by Valentino, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

For her, it’s about making her online space “unique, genuine, and something that people have never seen before.” It’s an approach that has garnered an enormous fanbase and a minority of critics who want athletes – and track and field athletes in particular – to stay confined to a limited scope of interests. But Newman has never been one to shy away from whatever path she feels compelled to follow, regardless of pushback.


“I was never scared of failing,” she says. “I look forward to making mistakes and I look forward to continuing to be completely unapologetic about it. […] I’ve always been that way, even going back to gymnastics. It’s helped me rehab. It’s helped me explore new interests like watches and fashion and other sports. […] But I think the most important part is that it’s allowed me to speak on topics that most athletes don’t. I’ll take about my sexuality and my mental health. I’ll talk about body positivity and be transparent with how I view social media. I’m the real me because I’m not afraid to fail.”

Alysha Newman poses in a black and silver Dorian Who robe.
Robe by Dorian Who; one-piece suit by BOSS; earrings and ring by Bulgari; boots by L’intervalle.
Alysha Newman leans backwards while posing in a Dorian Who black robe.
Robe by Dorian Who; one-piece suit by BOSS; earrings and ring by Bulgari; boots by L’intervalle.

In terms of advice for others looking to balance high levels of success while maintaining a sense of self, Newman says that she has five things that keep her grounded and moving towards her goals. Right now, she says they include “self-love, family and friends, [her] career, creating generational income, and the ability to be spontaneous.” As for what they might be by the time the 2024 Olympics, we’ll just have to refer to the last factor – her spontaneity – and hold our collective breaths.

Related Articles