London Olympics: Javelin Preview

By Jim Donahue



The biggest name among men’s field eventers is Norwegian javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen, Olympic gold medalist in 2004 and 2008. However, Thorkildsen, who trains much of the year in California, has been fighting a right quadriceps injury and finished just fourth in the European Championships in June.

In Beijing, Thorkildsen dominated the competition, unleashing a throw of 90.57m, which won him a repeat gold medal by nearly four meters and set a new Olympic record. Thorkildsen remains one of the best throwers in the world and a win in London would tie him with the great Jan Zelezny for the most Olympic titles in history.

His main competition figures to come from Germany’s Matthias de Zordo, the 2011 world champion, Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic, and Tero Pitkamaki of Finland. The Americans competing will be Craig Kinsley, Sean Furey and Cyrus Hostetler. The world record is 98.48 set in May 1996 by Zelezny. The men’s final is Aug. 11.

Also returning to defend a gold medal is Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic, whose world record of 237 feet, 2 inches was set in 2008. In Beijing, Spotakova prevailed in a competitive duel with Russia’s Maria Abakumova and took the gold at 71.42m. At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu it was Abakumova who came out on top, winning by just under half a meter at 71.99m.

Those two should be at it again in London, while Christina Obergfoll of Germany, Sunette Viljoen of South Africa, Vira Rebryk of Ukraine and Goldie Sayers of Great Britain try to contend. The Americans competing will be U.S. Trials champion Brittany Borman, American record holder Kara Patterson and Rachel Yurkovich. The final is Aug. 9.

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