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Lessons from 2012 – Part One

Being ready to deliver on the day – The ability to have your athletes ready to perform at their best at the required time is most important. That can be the final of the Olympic games or a high school state championship. Everything is directed to this goal. Read more

Lessons from 2012 – Part Two

We may think we are training the body but we are really training the brain – To borrow Tim Noakes terminology the brain is the “Central governor” it controls everything we do. Read more

2012 Looking Back

Each year at this time of year I look back on the previous year just completed and as I get older I find myself looking back increasingly over years gone past. I do this not for nostalgic reason rather I do it to gain perspective to more forward. Read more

Training Talk With Juri Tamm (Part 3)

After two lengthy posts earlier this week, we have finally arrived at the final part of my training talk with two-time Olympic medalist Jüri Tamm. In the first parts, Tamm discussed his own training and thoughts on the sport. In this final part, Tamm focuses on more inspirational matters including how he thinks any male thrower can break 70 meters and how his father was able to find a way to succeed in the pole vault despite having just one hand. Also at the very end you will find a video of his 82.12-meter throw to win the 1985 World Cup in Australia.
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Training Talk With Juri Tamm (Part 2)

Earlier this week I posted the first part of my interview with two-time Olympic medalist Jüri Tamm. After talking about why hammer throw results have fallen off in the former Soviet nations and around the world, he proceeded to talk more about technique, talent identification in the Soviet Union, and his own training with his coach Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk. Come back later in the week to read the final part of our interview.
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Training Talk With Juri Tamm (Part 1)

The first two names that come to mind when you think about Soviet hammer throwing are Yuriy Sedykh, and Sergey Litvinov. Often overlooked on the podium is Jüri Tamm. Tamm, who also briefly held the world record, won the bronze medal at both the 1980 and 1988 Olympics and the silver at the 1987 World Championships. His personal best of 84.40 meters ranked third all-time during most of his career and still ranks in the top eight and is the Estonian national record nearly 30 years later. In summary, there is no reason he should be overlooked. If he threw in any other era he would have more gold medals and accolades than anyone in history.

Unlike Bondarchuk and Sedykh, who remain active as coaches, Tamm has drifted away from hammer throwing. Since retirement he has found success in business, politics, and sports administration. He served in the Estonian parliment for 12 years and also previously served as the vice president of the Estonian Olympic Committee. This year he began a new role as the chief of staff for world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka. Bubka is the president of the Ukranian Olympic Committee, a vice president of the IAAF, and a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board. Tamm travelled with Bubka to a recent IOC meeting in Lausanne, where I had the chance to meet the legend in person and get him talking about the glory days for a few hours. The first part of the edited interview is below. Visit later in the week to read the rest.
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2011 Season Review

Atop the podium in Basel. Photo by my coworker René Bettschen.

In reviewing my 2010 season, one of my main observations was that I did not build on each meet. Good meets were followed by bad meets and I never gained any momentum. Looking back at the 2011 season, the first thing I see is how I slowly built up my results throughout the course of the year. I reached three levels throughout the year. Level one, from March to early June, saw an average result of 62.57m in four meets (±30cm). Level two, during June and July, saw six meets averaging 64.95m (±66cm). Then, for my last meet, I improved to level three: a personal best of 67.90m. My technique was more stable and that allowed me to build on each meet.

Looking back at the 2011 season, I had some great accomplishments. But not everything went perfectly. As I begin to plan 2012, it is important to see what worked, what didn’t work, and where I can go from here. I already have a general plan for next season, but I will work out some more of the details when I visit Kamloops and sit down with Bondarchuk in a few weeks.

The Good

I was in the shape of my life. In addition to ending the season with a personal best, I also had personal bests across the board in training. My old bests with the 5-kilogram, 7.26-kilogram (competition weight), 8-kilogram, and 10-kilogram hammers were shattered and I was inches away from my bests with the 6- and 9-kilogram hammers.
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My Newest Claim to Fame

People search for some interesting things on Google.

I found out my newest claim to fame this weekend: my website is the second result listed on a Google search for “beer and chocolate diet.” Forget hammer throwing, I think I might write a book about a new fad diet.

It has been two years since I started to invest a lot of time in this website. Before then, I would write training updates once or twice a month to a handful of daily readers. For example I had 88 visitors before August 2009. Last month I had visitors more than 88 countries. It’s not that I’ve become more interesting. Hardly. It’s just that I found something more interesting to write about: others. For some reason, you all find it more interesting when I write about training methods, about the state of the hammer, and about the politics or other aspects of the event.
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2010 Season Review

I was looking back at my review of last season today and it is eerily similar to how I feel about this season. However, the two years were world’s apart. I not only threw three meters further this year, but I was also more consistent and had almost ten meets over my season’s best from last year. But, as always, I want more.

The Good – Like I said above, I threw better than last year. Much better. The highlight of the season was another win at the national championships by a convincing margin. I finished more than fourteen meters ahead of the next Swiss thrower (Björn, a German citizen, also threw great for second place), which by my research is the largest margin of victory at a Swiss Championship. Training has also gone very well. I improved my special strength and set lots of training bests from the 5-kilogram hammer all the way up to the 10-kilogram hammer. If I can get that strength into the throw, I know it will produce something over 70-meters. My technique also improved this year, although it is still not where I want it to be.
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It’s About the Athletes, Not the Medals

Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada's first gold medalist as host of the Olympics (photo by CTVOlympics.ca)

Take one look at Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau’s face today when the final results flashed on the scoreboard and showed his name in first place.  Take one look and you will immediately know what the Olympics are about: the athletes.  Bilodeau had the weight of the country on his shoulders.  Canada entered this Olympics in a unique position; it was the only country that had not won a gold medal while hosting multiple Games.  As a favorite on the second day of the games, many tapped  Bilodeau as a person that could break that streak.  And he did, reminding us in the process that as much as a country wants to succeed, these games really come down to individuals.  The Olympics are about those athletes that rise to the occasion and win.  And the Olympics are also about those athletes that weren’t even given the opportunity to compete.
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