Article from Student Lawyer Magazine

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.  Kristi Lemoine, the author and a law student in Chicago, did a great job and was a pleasure to talk to.  However, my favorite part of the article is the photo that showcases the infamous legendary short-shorts I compete in.  You can view a PDF of the article here.  (Note: this article was written before I decided to forgo the U.S. Olympic Trials in lieu of competing for Switzerland). Read more

Dinner with the Olympians

Our training group (l-r): Me, Vanessa Wilhelm, Galina Bondarchuk, Deanna Zelinka, Coach Anatoli Bondarhcuk, Megann VanderVliet, Michael Letterlough, Jennifer Joyce, Kibwe Johnson, Crystal Smith, and Justin Rodhe.

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.
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Looking back at the first month

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. Read more

Teammate updates

ST Bern Hammer Throwers (back row)

ST Bern Hammer Throwers (back row)

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.
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News and upcoming events

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. Read more

Tough on the hands

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. Read more

Arrival in Kamloops

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.
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Tune into the Olympics Tonight

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″).  That remained his best throw throughout the competition and he sat in the bronze medal position entering his last throw.  Unfortunately, American Christian Cantwell improved on his final attempt and ended Dylan’s chance at a medal.  When the competition was over, Dylan was just one centimeter (.25 inches) shy of the bronze medal and four centimeters (1.5 inches) shy of the silver medal.  Nevertheless, he put forth one hell of an effort and should be proud of his new Canadian record. Read more

All eyes turn to Beijing

I returned home last night just in time to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I’m not a big fan of the opening ceremonies since I think it is the antithesis of what the Olympics should be about: it is full of grandeur and hype, yet lacks sports and competition. That being said, it is a sign that the greatest show on earth is about to begin. I spent the last few weeks training in Kamloops again and was able to see my training partners Sultana Frizell and Dylan Armstrong who will represent Canada for in their first Olympics. Both have a chance to place high and I can’t wait to watch them next week. Thankfully, I get CBC television here in Seattle and will be able to watch them.
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A look back at the season

I flew back to Seattle yesterday.  On the flight, I had a chance to reflect on my season.  While I will likely compete in some small local meets over the next month, the core of my season is now over and I am beginning to look ahead towards next season.  My last meets in Turkey and Switzerland also did not meet my expectations.  Despite great training results, I again encountered foul trouble during the competitions.  Converting great training into a great meet has been my biggest problem this season.  While I was ready to throw near 70m at several times this season, I was never able to bring all the elements together in a competition.  The mental distractions and time commitments of law school and work likely had an impact on this, but it is nevertheless frustrating that I was not able to come through when it counted.
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