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So many people dream of making it to the Olympics; few understand how hard it is to make it there. 2016 is proof that this is the hardest team to make. So many veterans missed the team this year, and so many teenagers proved their spot on the team. The standards are higher than ever in the javelin and I count myself lucky to be on such a fantastic team.
But now is when training has been the hardest on me. It is a mental grind. The track is empty almost every day that I am at practice. The weight room is quiet; just me and what little motivation I have left at the end of a long year.
Every day is a grind. I wake up, plan my day, eat right, train hard, and rest for tomorrow. It’s a constant balance of things that I can’t overdo or I will pay for it later.
The Olympics are in my sights and that daily grind is getting old. But I remind myself every morning that this is no longer a grind. This is it. This is why you trained so many years. You have done it. It is here. The Olympics are just weeks away. Be proud. Be confident. Be strong. Have faith!
This is an exciting time for me. I made the Olympics in 2012 but under performed; only throwing 75.76m and placing 32nd of 44 athletes (results). The experience was a blur. Like I had the opportunity but it passed me by. Where did those three throws go?
I was determined to not stop until I had another chance at the Olympic Games. That was not the legacy I wanted to leave behind.
After a few years, and a few more injuries, I doubted I would make a team ever again. You get enough people to tell you that you can’t do it and that you are no good and you start to believe them. But I couldn’t stop now. Not after everything that I had endured.
I am getting my second chance this year. I made the 2016 Olympics. And I am having the best season of my career. How is that for a comeback story?
The American Track League had a meet in Houston on July 23rd. I wanted to use it as a test for the Olympic Qualifying round. The Olympic field gets three attempts and the top 12 advance to finals. 83.00m (272-4) automatically advances to finals. My goal was to hit a throw that would advance me to finals.
The meet was great. We had pole vault going right in front of us, we had fans in the infield, and a DJ playing music. It was a good atmosphere. And I was ready to see what I could do.
I threw 78.21m (256-7) on my first throw and it felt super easy. Technique was not there on that throw but obviously my training has been going well.
I focused on speed and went 80.84m (265-3) on my second throw. While that may be a couple meters off the auto qualifier for the Olympic final, on average it is still good enough to make the top 12 (80.14m – 8 year average).
After three rounds I passed my final attempts and watched the rest of the competition. I will only get three attempts in the qualifying round of the Olympics so mission was accomplished. I better rest up for Rio.
Back to training in Chula Vista with my training partner Sean Furey. I am three weeks out from qualifying round in Rio (August 17th). So two weeks of solid training, head to Rio August 9th (day after my birthday!) and one week in Rio, fine tuning everything I need to do.
I am more prepared than ever this year. I am throwing better than ever this year. And I am more determined than ever this year. This Olympic Games will not be a blur. It will be an experience I am proud of.
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