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H.T.A.: Hammer Throwers Anonymous

Hello, my name is Martin and I’m addicted to the hammer throw. It may have been obvious from my obsessively regular posts about the hammer throw on this website and others. But that’s just the addiction you see on the surface. It is much deeper than that.

This weekend I am preparing to head down to Lake Como for a four-day weekend escape with my visiting girlfriend, my friend Andrea, and her brother. I know the chance to relax and have fun in Italy will be well worth it, but I must be honest, I’m having a little anxiety about taking the time off of throwing. In fact, I’m even going to squeeze in a little throwing session Thursday morning before we catch the train. Still, my three day break from throwing will be my longest since September 2007.
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Meet Recap: Swiss Championships

Congratulating my friend and runner-up Roland Widmer after the competition.

I just got back to Zürich after a long, but fun, weekend at the Swiss Championships that ended with another gold medal. It all started off on Friday, when I took the day off of work and headed down early to the meet. This allowed me to get a pre-meet training session in, a quick appointment with our team physiotherapist, and meet up with my family (who have been touring around Switzerland this month) for a pleasant dinner at the Castelgrande overlooking Bellinzona.
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Olten and Locarno Meet Recaps

This week has been busy with two small competitions in the past three days. It has been hard for me to find good meets lately since there is a small break in the European schedule when most countries have their national championships. Switzerland and Germany will have their championships next weekend, France is this weekend, and Italy was last weekend. Even without the conflicts, there are not many good hammer competitions. While I had lined up a competition in Hungary for this weekend, the plans fell through (unfortunately after I bought my plane ticket). Instead, I found a few local “all-comers” type meets to throw in. While I trained through both meets, it has been several weeks since my last competition and I wanted to find one more meet before the Swiss Championships.
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June Training Update: Getting My Groove Back

When I got to Europe and saw my distances in training and competitions fall by five meters, I was a bit mystified. This happened to me last year, but I thought I had fixed the problems that led to it then. As I posted at the time, I knew that the five meters didn’t just vanish. My results were down, but I kept up hope that it would come back with the right adjustments. But after a month, my patience was starting to wear thin. I e-mailed Coach Bondarchuk to let him know how things were going and eagerly awaited his response. I thought he might be able to identify some new critical flaw in my technique, or perhaps alter my training program since things were not going well. Instead I got a short reassuring response that I will reprint in its entirety: “Hello Martin. Continued program. Dont vory. A.B.”

He was right. I took his advice, and things got better.
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Mission Accomplished: ETCH 2nd League Recap

The Swiss national team travelled to Belgrade last Thursday with one goal in mind: get promoted back to the first league with a top two finish at the European Team Championships. The European Team Championships are kind of like the conference championships for European countries. Each country sends a team with one male and female athlete per event, and the meet is scored. The top and bottom teams in each league move up and down a division. We were relegated last year and were hoping to move back up again this year.
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SVM and Folksam Challenge Recap

LC Zürich won became Swiss Club Champions again on Saturday.

I had two meets over the past week and both results were very disappointing to say the least. While the conditions at the Schweizer Vereinsmesiterschaft on Saturday were less than ideal (I also had to throw the shot put), I had no excuses yesterday in Sweden and still threw poorly. The best I can do is to try to focus on the one positive note from each meet. On Saturday my club won the Swiss Club Championship and swept both the men’s and women’s titles for a historic 20th time. Yesterday, I got to visit Sweden for the first time, catch up with my friend Mattias Jons, and also meet several new throwers from Finland, Sweden, and Great Britain.
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Fraenkisch-Crumbach Recap

I’m not sure whether to call it complacency or having perspective, but I threw horribly this weekend and am fine with that. I could search for reasons why I didn’t throw far and I could find the small victories that came from this meet; there are plenty of each. But, I’d rather not spend my time doing that. This is all that matters: I was in great shape two weeks ago, yet I only threw 62.53m on Sunday. Five meters of distance doesn’t just, like they say in the Shawshank Redemption, up and vanish like a fart in the wind. The distance is still in me: I just need the technique to bring it back out. I was talking with my friend Sergej Litvinov Jr. after the meet and he told me that “Everyone must have both good and bad meets every season.” I agree. But unlike him, I’m not able to win a meet on an off day and still throw over 77 meters.
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Zurich to Host 2014 European Championships

It was great to wake up yesterday and read the news that Zürich had been named host of the 2014 European Championships. After the Olympics and the World Championships, the European Championships are the world’s next biggest athletics competition. In the hammer throw, where nine of the top ten throwers are often from Europe, the level of competition is as good as it gets. More than anything, winning the bid for the European Championships will bring more attention and devote more resources to athletics in Switzerland. As a country, Switzerland is not very competitive in athletics, but the fans still love a good track meet and they host two of the world’s most popular meets every year (Weltklasse Zürich and Athletissima). While no additional resources have been given to the throws, any additional attention for our sport is a good thing. I don’t know if I will still be competing in 2014, but if so it will be an exciting experience to compete in front of an excited home crowd in Zürich.
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Mt. SAC Recap

I made a last-minute trip to compete at the Mt. SAC Relays over the weekend. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was originally planning on training through April, but since training had been going so well I decided to fly down to Los Angeles for the Mt. SAC Relays. Mt. SAC always puts on a good meet and it keeps me coming back year after year. They can virtually guarantee good weather, a great facility, an energized crowd, and stellar fields. This year’s meet saw a new world leading mark by Slovakia’s Libor Charfreitag and a new top U.S. mark by my training partner Kibwé Johson. I was also very happy with my results. I placed seventh with a new season’s best of 65.88 meters (216-02). As with my last competition, there were both positives and negatives to take away from the meet, but the positives outweigh the negatives.
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Reflecting On My First Meet

Right now I’m sitting in the Amsterdam airport waiting to catch my flight home to Seattle. The first leg of my flight gave me some time to reflect on yesterday’s competition. While there were positives and negatives from the meet and I may not have thrown as far as I wanted to, I did achieve much of what I wanted. I started the competition with a lot of energy. My first attempt flew out of my hand and landed at 65.75m. Unfortunately, it also landed just outside of the sector, as did my second attempt. After making a few adjustments, I got a legal throw in the third round and improved again in the fourth and fifth rounds before having a questionable foot foul on my final attempt.  My best throw measured 64.72m.
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