|Shot Put||21.95||Stockholm (Kungsträdgården)||30 JUL 2009|
|Shot Put||21.72||Istanbul (Ataköy Arena)||09 MAR 2012|
|2016||21.08||Warszawa (Stadion Narodowy)||28 AUG|
|2015||20.82||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG|
|2013||20.98||Moskva (Luzhniki)||16 AUG|
|2012||21.89||London (Olympic Stadium)||03 AUG|
|2011||21.60||Stockholm (Kungsträdgården)||28 JUL|
|2010||21.44||Bruxelles (Boudewijnstadion)||27 AUG|
|2009||21.95||Stockholm (Kungsträdgården)||30 JUL|
|2008||21.51||Beijing (National Stadium)||15 AUG|
|2007||20.87||Osaka (Nagai Stadium)||25 AUG|
|2003||20.09||Firenze (Stadio Ridolfi)||21 JUN|
|2016||20.41||Torun (Arena)||12 FEB|
|2014||21.04||Sopot (Ergo Arena)||07 MAR|
|2013||20.81||Zürich (Hauptbahnhof)||28 AUG|
|2012||21.72||Istanbul (Ataköy Arena)||09 MAR|
|2011||21.38||Zürich (Hauptbahnhof)||07 SEP|
|2010||21.20||Doha (Aspire Dome)||13 MAR|
|2008||20.93||Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP||07 MAR|
|2004||20.83||Budapest (Sportaréna)||07 MAR|
|The XXXI Olympic Games||6||20.72||Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico)||18 AUG 2016|
|15th IAAF World Championships||6||20.82||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG 2015|
|2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014||5||20.35||Marrakech (Le Grande Stade)||13 SEP 2014|
|IAAF World Indoor Championships 2014||4||21.04||Sopot (Ergo Arena)||07 MAR 2014|
|14th IAAF World Championships||6||20.98||Moskva (Luzhniki)||16 AUG 2013|
|The XXX Olympic Games||1||21.89||London (Olympic Stadium)||03 AUG 2012|
|IAAF World Indoor Championships 2012||3||21.72||Istanbul (Ataköy Arena)||09 MAR 2012|
|13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||8||20.18||Daegu (DS)||02 SEP 2011|
|1st IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup 2010||2||21.22||Split (Poljud Stadion)||04 SEP 2010|
|13th IAAF World Indoor Championships||4||21.20||Doha (Aspire Dome)||13 MAR 2010|
|IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final||2||21.21||Thessaloníki||12 SEP 2009|
|12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||2||21.91||Berlin (Olympiastadion)||15 AUG 2009|
|6th IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final||1||20.88||Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion)||13 SEP 2008|
|The XXIX Olympic Games||1||21.51||Beijing (National Stadium)||15 AUG 2008|
|12th IAAF World Indoor Championships||3||20.93||Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP||07 MAR 2008|
|11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||4||20.87||Osaka (Nagai Stadium)||25 AUG 2007|
|4th IAAF World Athletics Final||7||20.13||Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion)||09 SEP 2006|
|11th IAAF World Indoor Championships||6||20.07||Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion)||10 MAR 2006|
|10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||7||20.23||Helsinki (Olympic Stadium)||06 AUG 2005|
|28th Olympic Games||9q2||19.55||Olýmpia||18 AUG 2004|
|10th IAAF World Indoor Championships||4||20.83||Budapest (Sportaréna)||07 MAR 2004|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Updated 22 February 2014
Tomasz MAJEWSKI, Poland (Shot Put)
Born: 30 August 1981, Nasielsk
Coach: Henryk Olszewski
How far is it from a country yard to the Olympic podium? Can you become a great athlete but stay a humble man? Is it possible to conquer the world without losing any friends on the way?
It takes quite a man to contain all those qualities, the whole two meters of him. Introducing Tomasz Majewski, two-time Olympic champion in shot put.
You don’t have to go to a world class stadium to meet Majewski. He is a Polish national hero, but at the same time just a commuter, taking the subway to training. “It won’t hurt me to sign a few autographs on the way,” Majewski says. He uses the training facilities at the University of Physical Education but don’t be mistaken, it’s not his alma mater. He graduated from Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw with a Master Degree in political science.
Majewski is a committed reader and big cinema lover. Books and movies – this is what he brings with him to Spała, a large training center in the middle of a deep forest 100 km from Warsaw. He spends there most of the time when in Poland and according to his opinion there’s no better place for an athlete – just peace and nature and all the training facilities one can think of. And no distractions. “Spała always was and always will be our favourite spot. Everything here is just a few steps away, or you don’t even have to go outside. You just train hard, rest, eat and sleep. An ideal scene for a simple athlete’s life,” Majewski admits.
He first got into sports in his home town of Słończewo. A little village, not even 200 houses. His parents were busy with their farm from dawn to dusk and Tomek (diminutive for Tomasz) spent most of the time with his brother Michał, two years his junior. Elder siblings Wojtek, Wiesiek and Agnieszka had already left the house.
Tomek and Michał fell in love with basketball. As there was no basket to play with in the whole village, they decided to build one themselves. “We dug a huge pole into the ground, hung the rim and played one-on-one matches. Tomek was taller and better, I had no chances other than three-pointers,” Michał recalls.
When Tomek joined the track and field club, Michał begged him to bring home a discus as he had never seen such an equipment. They tried it out in the meadow. Tomek, as he tried to demonstrate his skills, threw it like a professional. Or so he thought, only the discus landed in the middle of their neighbour’s potato field. The boys spent there half an hour before they gave up looking. One year passed and another. Tomek was a promising athlete when his neighbour found something round and heavy while ploughing the field. He didn’t need to think twice and went straight to Majewski’s house. Michał still keeps that discus.
At the beginning, sport wasn’t easy or fun for Majewski. He had to grit his teeth to stick to the bland monotony of everyday life. After school he trained in the club in the same city of Ciechanów. Always in a hurry to catch the last bus to Słończewo at 6:18 pm. A 42-minute bus ride every day, back and forth for four long years. Usually he had his first decent meal in the evening before he sat down to do homework. Determination, character, strong will, discipline – all those qualities helped him survive the rough times and came in handy in his future career. If he had given up back then, the Polish Olympic legacy would be two gold medals lighter.
He was 15 when decision time came. Zbigniew Majewski, school coach and Tomek’s cousin, at once advised him to try the triple jump. Tomek remembered it as a nightmare. “Zbigniew taught me running, but first he had to teach me walking. Exactly how it sounds. I was tall and thin, 197 cm and only 89 kg. I had no coordination whatsoever. We had to dig deep, right from the basics,” Majewski recalls. As an Olympic champion he reached the weight of 145 kilos!
They trained in a small, crammed room together with other athletes. “When Tomek saw steel shots his eyes started shining. And our throwing coach Witold Suski kept badgering me Tomek is a thrower material. So I asked Tomek, do you prefer that to jumping? Be honest, it’s your choice,” Zbigniew Majewski recalls. And this is how Tomek became coach Suski’s pupil.
They stayed together until the result of 18.34. Now Majewski’s personal best is 21.95.
“First we tried to make him a discus thrower, but he wasn’t cut for that. His feet were too big and too slow. We turned to shot put and it took one throw for me to be sure Tomek had found his thing and I had somebody to work with,” Suski says. After one year they were joined by other young man. His name was Piotr Małachowski, the future Olympic vice champion in discus throw. A big friendship of two big throwers had begun, and still lasts.
Majewski was happier now but still had a lot to ask for. Their weight room was so tiny, that when Tomek tried to straighten up with a bar he hit his head in the ceiling. “In wintertime I put on big rubber gloves and sent younger boys for a bucket with hot water,“ Suski recalls. I put the shot into the water, then I dried it and gave to Tomek. That way his hands didn’t stiffen from the cold and he could work on his touch. I still feel those winters in my bones.”
In the autumn of 2001, Majewski started training with coach Henryk Olszewski. After many years and many more successes, they are still together. Their way to the Olympic podium wasn’t always smooth. For a long time Tomek struggled with the 21-meter barrier. “I told him once to find another coach. in practice he did all I told him but something was missing. He seemed committed but sometimes was too much into fun life,” Olszewski says.
In 2007, Majewski lost the national indoor championships to Jakub Giża. That was a turning point in his career. Athlete and coach became a real team. “After that competition, Tomek started devouring my words. He’s a great athlete, but I especially value the good man in him,” Olszewski admits.
Back in the Słończewo years there was another boy named Paweł, probably more gifted in sports than Tomek. One year on the last day of vacation he jumped into the water head-first and lives in a wheelchair ever since. It was Tomek who carried him between floors at school. These days Paweł tries to attend Tomek’s competitions whenever he can. For other spectators he’s a renowned athlete, for Paweł he’s still the same boy from Słończewo, and just a friend.
This is how people often see Majewski, even his greatest rivals Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell. They like to grab a beer together. “Tomek is a good friend. A long time ago I told him to come and visit me in Missouri. He says he’s too busy, but when he’s retired there will be no excuses,” says Cantwell who on the other hand visits Poland quite often for meets.
The world found out about Majewski in Beijing 2008. The shot putter from Poland outclassed his rivals in the Olympic final scoring 21.51. Cantwell who took silver threw 42 centimetres less. Coach Olszewski cried when saw his boy on the podium. Majewski wasn’t in a tearful mood, he couldn’t contain his joy and happiness so screamed like crazy. That gold meant the world to him, and something more. He had always looked up to Władek (Władisłav) Komar, a legendary Polish athlete, Olympic champion in shot put from Munich 1972. “We never met, but I’m sure we’d be good mates. I know he is exactly how I picture him, humble, old fashioned, honourable. I am sure we’d hit it off on the spot. We were in the same stadium once but somehow I missed him,” Majewski recalls. He won the Olympic gold just 2 days before the 10th anniversary of Komar’s death in a car crash.
Four years later history repeated itself – Majewski won again at the London Olympics. He rates 2012 the most important year in his life. But the biggest thing happened outside the stadium - his son Mikołaj was born. Tomek’s wife Anna watched the Olympic final from their Warsaw apartment with her mum. “We tried to be quiet but at the end when it was clear Tomek had won it was impossible to control our emotions. And the noise we made woke little Mikołaj up. But he wouldn’t have enjoyed much sleep anyway as people started ringing with congratulations right away,” Anna recalls.
The double Olympic champion had to accept a lesson of humility very soon after his feat. He found himself struggling with the 21-meter mark again. It remained unattainable through the whole 2013 season, even though it seemed really close at the World Championships in Moscow. The result, 20.98, gave Majewski a non-impressive 6th place. “I felt ready for a better result, but at the same time was conscious of my weaknesses. It was my worst season in very long time. But it is no wonder since I didn’t work out enough because of the elbow surgery, or to be specific, two of them,” Majewski explained.
The right elbow had started hurting back in the 2012 season, even before the Olympics. After several months of constant pain, in November Majewski was forced to admit it was something serious and let the doctors perform a surgical intervention. It went well but Tomasz didn’t let it heal and rushed with the preparation for the next season. Soon it turned out a second surgery was necessary. “Finally the elbow healed just fine and I feel no pain now. But at the time all those problems piled up and it was too much to bear even for my broad shoulders,” Majewski admits.
He wasted no time and is getting ready for the next big opportunity – the World Indoors in Sopot 2014, in front of his home crowd. “The indoor season is always important for me. Shot putters don’t hibernate during winter. I care so much for a good result in Sopot that I started my preparation in October, right after a short vacation. I have to maintain steady form, I am too old for ups and downs, if I let it slip away it may never come back. I want to take it to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In Sopot there is no option but a medal,” Majewski says.
Easier said than done, as the last five World Indoor titles have gone to the United States. “Who knows, maybe it will stay that way but I’m not going to make it any easier for the Americans,” Majewski announces.
21.95 (2009) NR; 21.72i (2012) NR
2000: 17.77; 2001: 18.34; 2002: 19.33; 2003: 20.09; 2004: 20.52/20.83i; 2005: 20.64; 2006: 20.66; 2007: 20.87; 2008: 21.51; 2009: 21.95 NR; 2010: 21.44; 2011: 21.60; 2012: 21.89; 2013: 20.98; 2014: 20.70i
European Cup (Firenze)
European U23 Championships (Bydgoszcz)
World University Games (Daegu)
World Indoor Championships (Budapest)
European Cup (Bydgoszcz )
Olympic Games (Athens)
European Indoor Championships (Madrid)
European Cup (Firenze)
World Championships (Helsinki)
World University Games (Izmir)
European Indoor Cup (Liévin)
World Indoor Championships (Moscow)
European Cup (Málaga)
European Championships (Göteborg)
World Athletics Final (Stuttgart)
European Cup (Munich
World Championships (Osaka)
World Indoor Championships (Valencia)
European Cup (Annecy)
Olympic Games (Beijing)
World Athletics Final (Stuttgart)
European Indoor Championships (Torino)
European Team Championships (Leiria)
World Championships (Berlin)
World Athletic Final (Thessaloniki)
World Indoor Championships (Doha)
European Team Championships (Bergen)
European Championships (Barcelona
Continental Cup (Split)
European Team Championships (Stockholm)
World Championships (Daegu)
World Indoor Championships (Istanbul)
Olympic Games (London)
European Team Championships (Gateshead)
World Championships (Moscow)