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Welcome to Lane 9

athleticstrack

The new website Lane9 takes a look at the personalities behind track and field.

In some ways, the formula to grow our sport is simple. To get broader exposure we need stars. To get stars we need athletes with personalities. And then we need to have a venue to showcase those personalities.
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What Makes a Good Coach

Earlier this month I had the privilege of being interviewed by the Sports Coach Radio podcast. The podcast posts weekly in-depth interviews with leading sports coaches, sports scientists, exercise physiologists and team performance directors. When Glenn Whitney, the host, asked me if I would be interested in doing an interview I was a bit dumbfounded as to why. I’m always looking to help HMMR Media gain a bigger audience, but when I said he interviews leading people, I truly meant leading. He’s had some outstanding interviews Harry Marra, Vern Gambetta, and Clyde Hart in track and field and coaches of the same level in other sports too.

530838756ae1cfe0244204750c5d4761In the end we actually spoke little about coaching despite the name of the podcast. Instead we dove into topics like how to balance a career, technology in sports, and the hammer throw. All topics I fell like I can hold my own on. To have a listen, click here. But in preparation for the interview I spent some time thinking about coaching and since I didn’t get to speak about it as much during the interview, I thought I would share a few brief thoughts on the topic here.
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The Clark Kent of Hammer Throwing

I have the glasses and suit, now I just need some more muscles and the ability to fly.

I have been featured in a lot of magazine and newspaper articles over the years, but my recent interview with my club’s magazine was a little more fun since I had a photographer who wanted to experiment a little. I knew it would produce something unique when I received the photo to the right as an MMS from photographer Adrian Bretscher of Hangar Ent. Group. Bring your suit, he told me. You can see the results below.
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Bill Cosby Was a Hammer Thrower

Comedian Bill Cosby throwing the shot put in college.

For people like me and my readers, the hammer throw is a year-round sport. Whether or not there are competitions, we are following our favorite athletes, out there training ourselves, or coaching others. But for the vast majority of the world, thinks it happens just once every four years if they have even heard of the hammer throw. Some people complain about this, but I think it is wonderful that we ever get this much exposure. Let’s be honest, the hammer throw will never be a household sport and we get the rarely chance to expose new people to the event. Even if the hammer throw is added to the Diamond League that will only give it a fraction of the exposure the Olympics did. Even without much television coverage or any Americans on the podium it was still the topic of some water cooler conversations around the world.
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Der Einsiedler aus den USA

It is the rare occasion that the hammer throw gets some publicity in the mainstream media, but when it happens it’s always cool. And it’s even cooler to see your picture take up half a page in the newspaper. We’re a niche sport and if we want to grow we have to put ourselves in front of new eyes. With an audience of a half-million readers, the Tages-Anzeiger’s article about me today was one such opportunity. Who knows, maybe it will lead to another person watching the sport at an upcoming meet or a new kid in my training group.
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Hammer Throw Media Blitz

From a recent profile in the Zürich 2 newspaper. Photo by Lorenz Steinmann.

Right after the Swiss Championships I hopped on a plane to America, where I am now preparing for my wedding on Sunday. I took a three week vacation from work for the wedding and honeymoon (one of the benefits of working in Europe) and had planned on taking most of that time off of training. But after talking with coach Bondarchuk on Sunday, I will now only take a 10-day break. I am in great shape and he doesn’t want me to lose that before starting my training back up again. That means I am trying to squeeze in a few training sessions before the wedding and then will relax on the honeymoon. Even though the break is shorter than planned, I think it is still my longest period of time off since 2007. A man of few words, he gave me a succinct reply after I presented him with a revised training schedule: “Okey. Heppe weding. M.B.”
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Der Hammer-Anwalt

It’s not quite as good as throwing a hammer over a river, but I did get to do some hammer drills yesterday in Paradeplatz, the center of Swiss banking. It was all part of a photo shoot and interview with Blick, Switzerland’s largest daily newspaper. The article ran today a preview for tonight’s Swiss Championships and focused on how I combine athletics with my day job. Check it out below.
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Interview with CriticalBench.com

When I was asked to do an interview with CriticalBench.com last month, I was a bit surprised. The site’s other interviews are with bodybuilders, powerlifters, and strongmen. I didn’t see where I fit in, not just because I can’t lift has as much as they can (I currently can bench only around 110kg), but also because my approach to training is very different. However the interview was quite good and they asked several new and interesting questions about training, about Bondarchuk, and about more interesting topics like the interplay between academics and athletics, transitioning from college to international competitions, and what the hammer feels like. Read more

Fifteen Minutes of Fame for the Hammer Throw

Over the past few weeks, the hammer throw has benefited from a rare and lucky streak of publicity. First, noted author Brendan Koerner penned a 3,000 word piece for ESPN The Magazine looking at the 25 year anniversary of Yuriy Sedykh’s world record and how it might be one of the most untouchable records in sports. In tomorrow’s New York Times, Isolde Raftery wrote another article about the philosophical nature of hammer throwers. Read more

Profile in the Einsiedler Anzeiger

Since I was born in America, it is hard to truly call any place in Switzerland home. However, my Swiss passport tells me that my “place of origin” is a small town called Einsiedeln. That is where my grandfather was born and raised.

Caught off guard by Kate behind the Einsiedeln Abbey last summer.


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