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Rohan Browning: The Flying Mullet's 100m Glory

Rohan Browning: The Flying Mullet's 100m Glory

Signet caught up for a chat with Aussie 100 metre sprinter Rohan Browning in the grandstands of Sydney Olympic Park. Some the world’s greatest athletes have made history on this track, and it seemed only appropriate to meet Browning here. Staring out over the finish line, we spoke about his gruelling preparations in the lead up to his 2024 campaign, his tunnel vision for gold and his glorious mullet (that’s “not really a mullet”).   

As the nation tuned into the 2020 Tokyo Games, an unassuming Aussie larrikin captured the spotlight, not only for his remarkable speed on the track but for his distinctive look, specifically...his haircut. Rohan was fondly crowned by Bruce McAvaney as "The Flying Mullet", and the 100-metre sprinter quickly earnt himself a cult status on the track and in the hearts of Australians. 

“The first time I heard ‘The Flying Mullet’ I thought I'm never going to live this down, and sure enough it appeared on my Wikipedia page. I tried to take it down, but somebody put it back up. I don't know if that was one of my mates or an overzealous Wikipedia editor. It's funny because it’s not even a mullet!” 

Beneath Browning’s glorious locks, is a determined athlete with the focus and drive to prove himself again and beat his own remarkable performances. He clocked an incredible 10.01 in his heat at the 2020 Tokyo games which was the fastest 100 metres ever recorded by an Australian. Now in 2024, Browning is set on rewriting 125 years of Games history, by becoming the third Australian ever to win gold in the 100 metres event. 

“For me, a highlight was winning my heat at the 2020 Tokyo Games. That was the first time I think I really proved to myself that I belong at this level of competition and that I could really compete with the best guys in the world. Going into 2024, my dream is to write a new chapter of history for this sport and prove that Australian sprinters can be up there with the best in the world. I know to get there I need to run under 10 seconds, and that’s what I’m chasing.” 

Rohan Browning Back facing camera looking at trackRohan Browning Back facing camera looking at track

The pursuit of perfection has become an obsession for Browning and his eyes are set on breaking the Australian National Record of 9.92. For him, it's a relentless mix of pain and endurance to shave fractions of seconds from his time.  In a sport where success and failure are separated by the slimmest of margins, precision is everything. 

"I know that to break 9.93 seconds, the Australian record, I need to find that 0.1, and I'm searching everywhere for it," Browning reveals. "It's a slight lateral step out of the blocks, it's the last 10 metres of the race, how high you pick up, how much you dorsi flex your tibias anterior, how active you are, how fatigued you are. There are so many elements that come into this absolutely maximal effort, and that is what you commit yourself to every day when you turn up to training. You go into this sport, and you know that you may win or lose by fractions of a second, and it can be an incredibly bitter pill to swallow. So, on any given day when you turn up to compete, you can't be niggly, you can't be sore, you can't be injured, you must be 100%, or you don't get to be the hero.”  

As Browning gears up to take home Gold in 2024 he reflects on what it means to wear the Green and Gold. 

“Representing your country feels very special and feels right, like it fits well. When I walk into a stadium, I feel like I belong there. Maybe I didn't when I was a bit younger, but now I really do. I think when you're surrounded by the others, I feel like I really belong, and I can be competitive.” 

Rohan Browning Racing on TrackRohan Browning Racing on Track

“I didn’t expect a packaging company of all things to want to support me, but I get it. 'You guys help thousands of Aussie businesses compete and you're helping me compete on the track. The support means the world to me and helps me focus on what I need to do keep improving. I’m grateful.” 

We’re proud to support Rohan Browning as a member of Team Signet. Join us as we get behind him, the rest of the team, and over 60,000 other Aussie businesses all chasing their own dreams.  

Read on to find out more about Browning. 

Signet: Signet's campaign is about supporting Aussie dreams. Tell us a bit about when being a sprinter became the dream for you? 

Rohan: It started when I was a kid. I just loved sports, I loved all of them. I loved the contest and that's what motivated me. It didn't have to be in track and field, I just love competition and I really grew into the sport, and I think I really grew to find the love for the sport of track and field as it's a sport that sucks me in. You don't need a long attention span, it's over so quickly and that's something that is truly unique in the world of sports. 

Signet: What other sports did you play? 

Rohan: I played heaps of different sports. I tried cricket, and I hated it! You needed a much longer attention span for time out in the field. I felt disengaged, it just wasn't my thing. I needed to be occupied all the time, I played football, rugby, a bit of baseball. I couldn't find glory in any of those sports. I suppose in a way, I just fell into track and field, and I like to think the sport kind of found me. 

Rohan Browning starting a raceRohan Browning starting a race

Signet: How old were you when you started training full time? 

Rohan: When I first started training full time, I was 16, and it was incredibly serendipitous for me. It all started with coaching and mentorship. I was discovered by my coach at school when he really took me under his wing, and he's been my coach every step of the way for the past 10 years. He's been hugely formative in my life on and off the track he's been a huge influence on me and somebody who's been a real constant for the past decade. 

Signet: What's been the highlight of your track career so far? 

Rohan: There's so many ups and downs in this sport and there's always two sides of the same coin. So, the highlights have always been paired with some sort of disappointment at some level. I think that's true unless you win at the Games, and break the world record in the process, there's always going be something that you are striving for that you haven't quite achieved, or a target that you haven't quite hit. That's just that athlete mentality.  

For me, the highlights have been winning my heat at the 2021 Tokyo Games. That was the first time I think I really proved to myself that I belong at this level of competition and that I could really compete with the best guys in the world. The downside was that you go to this new level, raise your expectations and your hopes, and you have to be totally ambitious in this sport and that's how all the great athletes are. I always knew that I could win my heat, and I was always there to do that. It was only from the outside that people were surprised, but for me, that's what I was always there to do. I also wanted to make the final and I didn't. This was a disappointment. But I think if you piece elements together and it forms this longer narrative over the scope of a career, and I'd like to think that that story's still being written. 

Lady watching Rohan Browning Race on phoneLady watching Rohan Browning Race on phone

Signet: Could you ever imagine when you began, getting to where you are now? 

Rohan: When I started this, I was incredibly ambitious. I think that's a prerequisite in this sport or in any sport to be successful. I definitely envisioned being one of the best guys in the world. If I didn't think it was possible, I would never have taken up the sport and I certainly wouldn't still be here, I'd be doing something else. But it's not a linear route, it takes a long time, and it takes a lot of trial and tribulation. There's a lot of peaks for every trough, and I've learned a lot of lessons along the way, and I think the narrative's still being written. 

Signet: So, what's the dream now? 

Rohan: I want to break the Australian record, I want to win more Australian titles, and I just want to stay on top of my game for as long as possible and as long as I'm continuing to learn.  

Signet: What's the feeling counting down to your next big competition? 

Rohan:  The excitement only builds, things will only heat up and the intensity dials up one way. You just got to stay on top of everything and keep that momentum going to not get left behind. 

Rohan Browning Fixing hairRohan Browning Fixing hair