It is official. I received my results from the bar exam last week and passed. After being sworn in January, I will officially be an attorney. While I am excited that I passed, the whole process is very anti-climatic and I am still in a bit of awe and disbelief for two reason. First, I did not dedicate myself to studying for the bar exam like I normally dedicate myself to my pursuits. Instead, I pursued a great opportunity to compete for the Swiss national team over the summer and studying was relegated to a lower position on my list of priorities. Second, this is the first time in years when other people’s expectations exceeded my own. Historically, people have underestimated me and that has fueled my success. As a Senior in high school, few would have believed that I would become an All-American athlete or attorney. I worked hard to prove them wrong and did so. This year, things were turned around and I was the one doubting the results while everyone else was assured of my success. It is great to feel the support of others, but at the same time my stubbornness is forced to concede that my prediction may have been off.
Entries by Martin Bingisser
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so bear with me as I have a few different topics to update everyone on.
First on the agenda is a lesson in cultural literacy. While today is Veterans Day in America, it is Remembrance Day up here in Canada and other members of the Commonwealth. One interesting fact about Remembrance Day is that many people around town are wear red poppies to commemorate the day. The red poppy represents the flowers that bloomed on the battlefields in the aftermath of World War I. The poppy was used as an emblem after Canadian poet John McRae wrote about the topic.
In other news, I just returned from a weekend in Seattle where I finalized the formation of a non-profit corporation. I will post more information as our plans come together, but I envision that the corporation will be used to help support local Olympic hopefuls such as myself, Will Conwell, and Aretha Thurmond, as well as other deserving athletes.
This post is long overdue. The American Bar Association’s Student Lawyer magazine published an article about me back in their May 2008 edition. I forgot to post the link at the time since I was busy with law school exams.
Last night I attend the Dinner with the Olympians event hosted by the Kamloops Track and Field Club. It was a great chance for the community to hear our local Olympians speak about their experiences in Beijing. We heard from Gary Reed (800 meters), Dylan Armstrong (shot put), Catherine Pendrel (cross-country mountain biking), and Sultana Frizell (hammer throw). The first three all placed fourth and barely missed bringing home a medal. Ms. Pendrel’s talk was especially interesting. It is always fun to gain some insight on how elite athletes train in other sports. She also told one heartwarming story about how her husband sometimes would follow her in his car on her winter training rides so that she could exchange water bottles whenever the water in her water bottle froze over. The dinner was a great success for the club and raised more money for us to purchase equipment, improve our facilities, and pay our great coaching staff.
I’ve been in Kamloops for one month now and my training for the 2009 season is well underway. So far, everything is going as planned. I am making quick progress now that I able to train full-time. My training currently consists of throwing a variety of hammers ranging from the competition 16-pound hammer to the heavy 10-kilogram (22-pound) hammer. My best progress has been with the heavier hammers. This week I threw personal bests of 51.70 meters with the 10-kilogram hammer and 61.60 meters with the 8-kilogram hammer. For the metrically challenged, that is 169’7″ with the 22-pound hammer and 202’1″ with the 17.6-pound hammer. Based on his years of experience, Dr. Bondarchuk estimates that these results are equivalent to a throw of 67.50 meters in competition, just inches shy of my personal best. The best part about it is that today is October 2nd and I have another nine months until the season really begins. With continued progress like I’ve been having, this should be a real break through year.
I forgot to congratulate my teammates at ST Bern in my last post. ST Bern is my track club in Switzerland. Last weekend, the team became the Swiss Team Champions in hammer throw. Unfortunately I was unable to make the trip to compete, but the remainder of the team led by two-time Swiss champion Roland Widmer took home the title.
Adapting to full-time training is still going well. Without school and work, I feel more rested and relaxed than ever and it is having a great impact on my training. There are a few upcoming events people in and around Kamloops might be interested. First, Coach Bondarchuk recently won an award from the British Columbia Coaches association for his success this year. He will be honored in Kamloops Wednesday evening and my training partner and Olympian Sultana Frizell will be the keynote speaker. You can find out more details here. The Kamloops Track and Field Club will be hosting their annual fundraising dinner. This year’s theme will be “Dinner With the Olympians” and will feature speeches by Sultana, as well as Beijing fourth place finishers Dylan Armstrong and Gary Reed. The event take place on October 9 at Thompson Rivers University’s Independent Centre. Call (250) 851-2512 for more information. That’s all for now. I’ll have some more training updates next week.
When I talk to people who are unfamiliar with the hammer throw, one of their first comments is always “You must have a strong upper body.” In fact, most of the speed and power in the hammer throw comes from the torso and legs. Contrary to most people’s intuitive belief, the arms and chest are relatively inactive throughout the throw and I haven’t done the bench press in nearly two years. That being said, a thrower is only as strong as his weakest link. One of the nagging problems nearly every thrower encounters is hand pain. After taking thousands of attempts each year, our hands inevitably develop calluses and blisters. I bring this up since I have developed a nagging blister on my middle finger as my body adjusted to the rigors and volume of training full-time. If you think most blisters are annoying, try having one on your finger while a quarter-ton of opposing force is pulling away from you in each turn of the throw. It is in this respect that a strong upper body is important. There is nothing you can do but bear the pain and wait for it to heal.
After three seasons of traveling back and forth monthly between Seattle and Kamloops, I have finally moved to Kamloops. Now that I have finished school, I am able to start a new chapter in my life where I can temporarily focus on my athletic goals. As most of you know, the reason I chose to move to Kamloops is because of the world renowned resident coach Anatoli Bondarchuk. With a full-time coach, more time to train, and a better support network, I hope to make some big gains this season. As usual, I will keep you all updated.
My training partner Dylan Armstrong competed in the Olympic shot put final today. The competition will be shown tape-delayed tonight on NBC, so tune in to see him. In the second round, Dylan threw a new personal best and Canadian record of 21.04 meters (69’00.50″).