Landing in javelin country
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After 38 hours of travel I have finally arrived in the javelin mecca of the world; Finland. It’s been a long trip but I actually feel pretty good, and I couldn’t be more excited to throw today.
I competed in Vancouver Canada on the 10th and immediately after throwing I ran to the shuttle bus to the hotel, and again on another bus to the airport where I just barely made my flight to New York that night.
My competition at the Harry Jerome Classic was actually pretty good. I threw 77.90m to take third place, but my series was a little more consistent, and I am happy how I am progressing. My body is holding up pretty well. A few sore muscles but overall I can throw with little to no pain at all. I just need to survive the next few days where I will compete at the Kuortane Games (13th) and the Karlstad Grand Prix (16th).
The only way for me to make the over 4,500 mile journey to Finland was to take a red-eye flight the night of my competition in Canada. It would cut off five hours of the travel and allow me to make the shuttle in Helsinki to Kuortane on the 12th.
After another five hour flight from New York to Iceland I had a seven hour layover in the airport where I actually got some pretty good sleep on bench in a quiet corner of the airport.
From Iceland it was only a three hour flight to Helsinki Finland and then a five hour bus ride north to Kuortane.
We are staying and competing at the Olympic Training Center in Finland. It is very similar to the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center in California, but I would say the rooms are nicer (because they are single rooms).
The entire facility is super familiar because I have seen it so many times in YouTube videos when I was in high school and college watching Tero Pitkamaki training. To be in the same facility gives me that euphoric feeling that I used to get when competing at Hayward Field. After time I have lost that feeling at Hayward and I am hoping that Kuortane gives me some of that magic again.
The competition is pretty good here in Kuortane. There was a Diamond League meeting in Glasgow, UK yesterday that had the Men’s javelin as well so most of the top javelin in the world competed in Glasgow in hopes of making big money on the big stage. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few really talented athletes in Kuortane.
While Kuortane may not have the big payouts like the Diamond League, they can boast about their history of big throws. Tero threw his personal best of 91.53m (300ft-3in) in 2005.
I think there are a few top javelin throwers that were more interested in throwing in Kuortane for the enthusiastic crowds than the prize money that can be found in the Diamond League meetings.
Known only as “The Egyptian,” from anyone I have talked to (Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed), has a personal best of 89.21m (292ft-8in) and is the world leader right now, and he will be competing at the Kuortane Games. Other big names are Petr Frydrych of the Czech Republic and Teemu Wirkkala and Ari Mannio of Finland.
Overall I am just really excited to be competing at the Kuortane Games and the Karlstad Grand Prix. I have always wanted to, and now I finally am. I am going to get a lot of experience and enjoy every minute of it!