Nick Willis is a professional New Zealander middle-distance runner who is a five-time Olympian. In fact, he is the countries only two-time Olympic medalist in the 1500 meters.
Alongside being an elite runner, he is also brilliant in using tactics to win races. In most of his races, he goes unnoticeable until the final few meters to give him the edge.
He recently qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and mentioned that this would be his last appearance in the Olympics.
Nonetheless, he is very excited for his final chapter and to pass on the torch to the younger generation.
Moreover, the middle-distance runner is very optimistic about his final lap to win yet another medal for his country.
After never winning a gold medal in the Olympics, he is more motivated to win this time.
Furthermore, he made his Olympic debut in Athena 2004, after which he won a silver medal in Beijing 2008. Following his first Olympic medal, he placed ninth in London 2012.
However, Ian came back to win a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Hence, his fans and family are hopeful to see him add his third Olympic medal to his resume.
Before getting into details about the Olympian’s life and career, here are some quick facts about him.
|Full Name||Nicholas Ian Willis|
|Birth Date||25 April 1983|
|Birth Place||Lower Hutt, New Zealand|
|Nick Name||Not Available|
|Education||University of Michigan|
|Father’s Name||Not Available|
|Mother’s Name||Not Available|
|Age||39 years old|
|Height||6 feet (183 cm)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg)|
|Profession||Track And Field Athlete|
|Team||Team New Zealand|
|Active Years||2000 – present|
|Kids||Two; Lachlan and Darcy|
|Net Worth||$1 million to $5 million|
|Social Media||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram|
|Merchandise||Track and Field Equipment|
|Events||800m, 1500m, 1 mile|
|Last Updated||June, 2022|
Nick Willis | Early Life, Family, And Education
Nick Willis was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, alongside his brother Steve, a personal trainer, author, and television personality.
As a kid, they were very enthusiastic and took part in multiple sporting events. During their time in Hutt Valley High school, the Willis brothers were well known to be very fast.
Not to mention, they are the only brothers in the history of New Zealand to have broken 4 minutes record for the mile.
Moreover, both the brothers were coached by Don Dalgliesh in their high school. Further, he truly helped Nick develop his fundamental skills as an athlete.
Therefore, this helped him to pursue running as his career. Likewise, he participated and won multiple running events that earned him a good reputation as a young athlete.
Hence, he received a full athletic scholarship from the University of Michigan. As a result, he began to study and train in the States alongside competing in some local events.
During this time, he was coached by Ron Warhurst, who retired as the head coach at the University of Michigan in 2010.
Henceforth, after his retirement, Nick convinced his former collegiate coach to become his personal trainer. Ron accepted his request and continued working together to this day.
Nick Willis | Age, Height, And Weight
Willis recently turned 39 years old on April 25, 2022. Being an athlete, he takes excellent care of his health, nutrition, and diet.
The elite runner has a height of 1.83m along with a weight of 68 kgs. Moreover, his body is well maintained to have a swift run.
However, many consider him to be underweight according to his height. Nevertheless, he is delighted and goes through a special diet to maintain his weight.
Further, he has a strict training regime to keep that body flexible and minimize any chance of injuries.
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Nick Willis | Running and Olympic Career
Olympic Debut and Gold Medal in Commonwealth Games
As a seventeen-year-old, Nick competed and won the 800m and 1500m double at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships.
Similarly, the following year he became the faster New Zealand secondary school student to run a mile in 4 mins 1.33 seconds.
With this performance, he increased his popularity in the track and field community. Hence, after four years, he got selected for his first Athena Olympics in 2004 for the Men’s 1500m.
Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t advance to the finals and ranked 13th overall. However, his spirit just started to light up, as he was more motivated after the loss.
Thus, a year later, he broke a 32-year-old national record for the 1500m at the Golden League series.
Following his exuberating performance, he won a gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in 3 minutes 38.49 seconds.
Further, he secured two first placings at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships the same year. Hence, his IAAF world ranking improved to 16th position in May of 2007.
First Olympic Medal and Unfair Olympic Race
Following some amazing performances, there was no doubt about his selection for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
With Some experience on his side, he advanced for the final round after qualifying two rounds. Indeed his maturity and experience reflected as he secured the bronze medal.
This was his first-ever medal in the Olympics on his second try. However, officials believed the race was not fair due to doping allegations on the winner and runner-up.
Hence, upon further investigation, the first runner-up Rashid Ramzi was disqualified. As a result, Nick’s bronze medal was promoted to the silver medal he received in 2011.
The investigation went on, and after ten years from the 2008 Olympic game, officials found out the champion also had used a banned substance.
In the light of this event, Willis was supposed to be named the winner of the 2008 Olympics. However, it was highly unusual for any drug sanction to hold for the long.
Thus, there was never official news of disqualifying the champion and crowing Nick as the new champion.
Disappoint 2012 Olympics and Redeem For The Loss
In 2012, the New Zealander runner got selected for the third consecutive time. Further after selection, he has officially named the Olympic flag bearer for New Zealand.
Likewise, he was the oldest runner at age 29 to make the final of the 1500m race. Unfortunately, upon finals, he had a terrible performance to which he described as heart broke and embarrassed.
Furthermore, this loss really made him put in more effort and dedication towards his games. As a result, he was fully prepared to redeem his loss in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Hence, this time he didn’t just run hard; he ran smart. In the first two laps, he was running extremely slow to reserve his energy for the last moment.
Just as he planed out, he began to sprint hard to maintain the third position. However, he couldn’t close the gap for the first or the second position and finished third across the line.
After the match, Willis said he was delighted that he corrected all the wrongs from London.
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Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The five-time Olympian represents New Zealand in his last Olympic appearance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Moreover, Willis said that this was the first Olympics where he was excited to be selected.
Likewise, he added that he used to be sure about his selection and felt confident, but he was a bit unsure this time. Hence, the two-time Olympic medalist loved the uncertain experience and claimed it to be fun.
Since Nick has never won an Olympic gold medal, he hopes to bring home gold for New Zealand in his final Olympic appearance.
Surgery and Injuries
The athlete underwent Labral tear hip surgery in 2009. Following the surgery, he could barely walk, let alone run.
Shortly after recovering, the Olympian had to undergo another surgery for his knee’s meniscus in 2010. Moreover, the doctors opened him again in 2011.
Likewise, during 2013 he popped a calf muscle.
Nick Willis | Relationship, Wife, And Kids
The two-time Olympic medalist is married to his long-time girlfriend Sierra Willis. Further, the couple got married on 30 September 2007.
Since the Olympian runner likes to keep his personal life out of the limelight, there are not many details regarding their marriage.
However, Nick has been very vocal enough to talk about the support from his wife. In addition, he has quoted Sierra to be a part of his coaching staff alongside Ron.
Indeed after more than ten years of being together, she has learned everything there is to the sport. As a result, she pushes her husband to be greater every time.
In fact, she refused Nick’s idea of retiring and convinced him to get the ranking points that he needed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Both the couple really admires one’s opinion in their life. Hence, they have lived a pleased life alongside their two beautiful sons, Lachlan and Darcy.
Further, Lachaln is their eldest son, born in 2012, followed by Darcy, born in 2018.
Nick Willis | Net Worth, Salary, and Endorsements
The middle-distance runner has earned most of his wealth through his career as a specialist sprinter. However, his exact net worth amount is unknown.
Nevertheless, many sources claim his worth to be between $1 million to $5 Million.
Being a track and field superstar has landed him with some lucrative sponsorships and endorsement deals.
One of those deals was with the renowned apparel brand Adidas. However, on May 11, 2020, he announced through his Facebook post that he had parted ways with Adidas after seven long years of partnership.
Nonetheless, in his following post, he mentioned teaming up with Tracksmith as their Athlete Experience Manager. Hence, he has earned a comfortable life for himself and his family.
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Nick Willis | Social Media Presence
The New Zealand runner has an active social media presence. Hence, he has an Instagram account with 32.8 thousand followers and over eight hundred posts.
Willis mostly shares his life as a professional runner through his Instagram handle. Similarly, he has several posts where he is seen training and running.
Nick loves his family and is quite adored by them. Moreover, his entire account is covered with photos alongside his family.
Further, Nick is also active on Twitter with 24.3 thousand followers. He mostly posts track and field-related news and tweets about admiring his loved ones, especially his wife.
Nick Willis | FAQs
Is Nick Willis going to the Tokyo Olympics?
The two-time Olympic medalist, Nick, will be playing in Tokyo and will try to beat his record for the 2016 Rio Olympic.
Did Nick Willis run again after his knee surgery?
Yes, the middle-distance runner ran again after his knee surgery in 2010. Moreover, he is representing his country in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held in July 2021.