Rohan Browning: ‘Most of what I do in life is motivated by fun’

House of Wellness TV co-host Jacqui Felgate chats to sprint star Rohan Browning in the countdown to the Paris Olympics.

He is Australia’s fastest man — known as the Flying Mullet.

But 26-year-old sprinter Rohan Browning didn’t start running until he was 16.

“I don’t think I ever had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment with athletics. I just got into it,” he says.

“I think I had this kernel of talent, but it’s really been an ongoing learning process and I’ve sort of fallen even more in love with the sport.

“The most important thing is to be driven by love and passion. I actually think it takes a lot less work to get kids interested in sport than parents think. It’s important to expose kids to as much diversity as possible in sport and not push them too much.

“Seeing kids out at the track just being flogged within an inch of their life, you know, it’s not really necessary.”

Rohan Browning on self-motivation

When starting out, mental health is as important as physical, he says.

“Those years are so formative and there’s so much more to life beyond the mundanity of running around an athletics track. I think to have longevity you have to be self-motivated.

“A lot of the best athletes I know have the best sense of self — the best understanding of what motivates them and what truly makes them happy — and they are balanced. It’s a recipe that’s different for everyone.”

The three-time national champion has toured the world competing.

This included making the semi-final of the men’s 100m sprint at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 during a worldwide pandemic.

“The reality is you get to travel to all these places in the night and you sit around the hotel room. It’s all very boring,” he reveals.

“And then you’re out sort of shortly thereafter. I’ve always made a point to try to capture the essence of wherever I am. Tokyo was my first Olympics, so I suppose I didn’t quite have the yardstick to compare it to. But I was happy to be there. I’ve been very fortunate.”

Rohan Browning on breaking records and ‘that mullet’

Being Australia’s current fastest man — and attempting to break the 10-second barrier — are things he doesn’t overly dwell on.

“I think it’s just so transient that if you fall into the trap of sort of bathing in your own self-glory it will be very short lived.”

As for his Flying Mullet nickname, it might be time to park it.

“You know, it’s not my favourite. I don’t have a mullet anymore. I cut my hair. I like to think it’s now more professional.”

Rohan Browning outside athletics

Rohan has just completed a law degree.

But he doesn’t plan on using it.

“I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy,” he says, laughing.

“I don’t plan on being a lawyer. I slowed my degree down to complete it over more years, and I found athletics and the law good complements to each other.

“The academic side was something that was important to me but less important than these fleeting years where you can build a sporting career. So I prioritised the sport and I did the degree around it.”

He also likes cars, albeit the slow kind.

A vintage Range Rover is his passion project.

“I would definitely not overstate my capacity as a mechanic because it is very limited,” he says.

“I really like old stuff. I just love things that have a unique character. You can take it off-roading and it opens up many doors to various activities.

“Most of my mates are not athletes and I think that diversity is really important. Most of what I do in life is motivated by fun.”

Needless to say, he plans on soaking up the Olympic experience, whatever comes his way.

“It’s just so exciting and I think it’s one of the most unique experiences you can have in a lifetime — to be part of an Olympic Games. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

More champions to inspire you:

Chemist Warehouse, in partnership with Athletics Australia, supports athletes from grassroots to elite level.

Written by Jacqui Felgate.