Throwing around the World

It’s been almost a month since I left my home in California, but I have been traveling all over the world with something to prove.

I won the Olympic Trials this year which gave me the great opportunity to represent America in the 2016 Olympics. I may have left a day after my 30th birthday but I didn’t bother to buy a return ticket home.

My goals were big; make the Olympic Final, compete to the best of my ability, and continue to compete against the best in Europe afterwards.

6,325 miles and 25 hours to Rio

I updated all my flights in and out of Rio to Economy plus. It was expensive but when I flew to Houston a few weeks ago (on United) my knees were touching the seat in front of me the entire flight. No way I was flying that long in economy to Rio. Oddly United is our Olympic partner but I didn’t get a deal on it at all!

Rio was great. The water in the ocean was clean. The food was acceptable, (but not as good as London Olympics!). Transportation on our Olympic shuttles was awesome, but via Über had lots of traffic. Housing in the Olympic Village was a little worse than London Olympics, but the inside of the village (around each tower) was pretty cool (parks, play structures and swimming pools).

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The Olympic Games themselves didn’t go as planned for me. My only real focus was to make it to the Olympic Final. We had 37 athletes this year and the top 12 in qualifying go on to the finals. I assumed it would take about 80-81.20m (statistically speaking over the last 17 years of championships). But man was I wrong! It took 81.96m (268-11) to make finals. It was the hardest Championship final to make since 2000 (82.24m to make finals). I placed 20th overall and threw 79.76m (261-8); just 2.2m short of making the Olympic Final.

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I was very disappointed, because I knew I had a bigger throw in me. I wish I had three more throws! I could have proved to the world I belonged. But I am proud of myself for doing my absolute best. I wouldn’t have changed anything.

I take pride in a few small victories. I threw farther at this Olympics than I did in 2012 (75.76m in 2012). I placed higher than I did in 2012 (37th in 2012). And I had the farthest throw by an American at a World Championship/Olympics since 2004 (Breaux Greer)

6,204 miles and 30 hours to New York

After the Olympic Games I headed to see my sister in New York. There were a few meets in Europe I was interested in, and the last thing I wanted was to go all the way back home just to leave for Europe in a couple days.

I got about 12 hours in New York when I got word that I needed to catch a plane that night to the Diamond League meeting in Paris. It was a big opportunity to show I belonged in that Olympic Final.

3,629 miles and 12.5 hours to Paris

Paris Diamond League was something I was really excited for. I know I have a big throw in me; I just need a few extra competitions to get it. At the Olympic Trials my best throw was 83.24m and when I followed through I still had 4 feet (1.22m) left before the foul line. That makes my throw closer to 84.24m if I can just clean up my approach a little bit.

Anyway, Paris was beautiful. The Eiffel Tower was spectacular. I could not believe how amazing it was. I took the elevator to the top  and was amazed by the entire city too.

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My mentality coming in was that everyone (including myself) had just done quite a bit of travel from Rio to Paris, and that some of the athletes may not be feeling that great. I travel really well and always feel really good, so I was going to strike while everyone was down.

While I had great confidence in myself, and I felt amazing, my legs couldn’t hold a block. They just felt like jello and I finished at 75.40m (247-4) in 7th place.

405 miles and 9 hours to Offenburg, Germany

After a bad meet, I was scrambling to find out where I would go to next. I am confirmed into Berlin World Challenge (Sept-3), but there are competitions in Zurich Switzerland (Sept-1) and Thum, Germany (Sept-2) that I was interested in. I had potential to throw in three meets in three days; if I could get into the meets.

I was deep on the waiting list in Zurich. If I didn’t get into Zurich I wanted to do Thum. But I needed to get some training in before my next competition.

I decided that I would fly to Frankfurt and take a train to Offenburg where I could train with Christina Obergföll (70.20m PB), Johannes Vetter (4th at the Rio Olympics – 88.23m PB), and former javelin thrower Boris Henry (90.44m PB).

I trained in Offenburg back in 2014 for about 8 weeks, and then made this my competition base camp that summer as well for another 8 weeks, so I knew it was a good place for me.

Sadly I just saw the Zurich’s startlist is out and it’s full. Only a last minute cancellation would get me in now. I have had Thum in the back of my mind for the last week, but I think I am going to put all my eggs in one basket and focus on Berlin. The meet is big and if I had to do well at just one meet I would choose Berlin.

So off to Berlin in a few days for my last competition, and then finally flying back to the states! Wish me luck, health, and easy travels. Hopefully I get paid too! Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

 

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6 months ago