Since becoming the Olympic Champion in 2008, Primož Kozmus’ career has been on a roller coaster perhaps no other gold medalist has seen. Kozmus was overshadowed quickly as Krisztian Pars dominated early 2009, but Kozmus had a steadily peak and was back on top at the world championships, where he again won gold. Two weeks later his new national record of 82.58 meters seemed to remove any doubt that he was the top hammer thrower in the world. At the end of the year he was voted the top Slovenian athlete by national press for the third year in a row, but he surprised everyone including his coach by announcing his retirement. In a release to the media, he stated “I’ve reached my peak. It is time to say goodbye. Olympic and world champion is enough.”
Then, after a year away from the sport, he announced a comeback. His first meets back last season started off slowly at 75 and 72 meters. But he gradually improved throughout the season and by the end of the year he was again over 80 meters and had won the bronze medal at the world championships. Now he enters the Olympic year as one of the gold medal favorites. Compared to the other defending champions, his path has been far from easy. He had time recently to talk about his quest for another gold while last week while at his training camp in America.
Returning to the Hammer Throw
Martin: It was a big surprise when you decided to retire after the 2009 season. You had set a new national record, won the world championship, and looked like you were ready for more success. What made you decide to retire? And then what made you change your mind last year and come back?
Primož: It was not easy to say goodbye to sport. But I had enough of sport’s discipline and hard trainings. I needed some rest. I wanted to live normal life. But after a few months I had enough of normal life. I was missing competitions; the adrenaline when I step into the circle. But I am happy that I took a break. In the off-year I got married, had a daughter, opened a hostel where I have big hammer throw plans. Now I am back and full of motivation to throw hammer far again.