The recent documentary Icarus took an in-depth look at the recent Russian doping scandal through the lens of a relationship with the mastermind of the doping plan Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. As controversy enveloped his Rodchenkov’s life, director Bryan Fogel was drawn to the center of the storm and we get an inside look at how far athletes go to beat the system. On this week’s episode we take a break from talking about training to discuss the film and the current state of doping and anti-doping. Read more
I have a soft spot in my heart for the sport of weightlifting. Hammer throwers and weight lifters have a lot in common. We both pursue a sport where fame and money are out of reach for even the best athletes. We pursue a sport where if things go wrong the only person to blame is yourself. We pursue a sport where technical precision must be combined with maximal power. I could envision myself taking up the sport once I finish hammer throwing. I don’t have the engine to be successful in it, but I have the heart to fall in love with it.
The world of weightlifting also often overlaps with the world of throwing. One of the best books I read last year was Bones of Iron by Matt Foreman. Foreman trained in his prime under John Thrush of Calpian Weightlifting, a coach I had the chance to work with a few times in high school. Now Foreman is a successful throwing and lifting coach and writes for Catalyst Athletics. Catalyst Athletics is one of the top lifting teams in the nation. Their connection to throwing is that their top super heavyweight lifters are both former hammer throwers: Brian Wilhelm threw at USC and Tamara Solari at Nebraska. I could play the name game all day, but the reason for this post is that Catalyst is also about to release the documentary film American Weightlifting which I had the opportunity to preview last week. Read more
The last time I reviewed a movie I gave two thumbs up to Gladiator for my high school newspaper. Since it is not every day that I watch a movie about hammer throwing, I figured it was necessary that I review A dobópápa (The Throwing Pope), a 2007 documentary by director Ágnes Sós. To my knowledge, this is the first movie about hammer throwing. The hammer throw has made cameo appearances for comedic effect in some films. Most notably, Agatha Trunchbull, the evil school headmistress and former Olympic thrower in Roald Dahl’s Matilda, was shown loading a hammer into her car’s trunk in that film (see 5:00 mark here). More recently, Will Ferrell’s character in Kicking & Screaming was shown attempting and failing at the hammer throw in college. The hammer throw has also been a star on the small screen, playing a feature role in the iconic 1984 Apple commercial.