US thrower Adrian Piperi secured the gold medal in the boys’ shot and finished sixth in the boys’ discus at the IAAF World Youth Championships Cali 2015. Here the 16-year-old offers his take on our personal bests questions.
My greatest rival
I have a few. In the discus it would probably be Gabe (Gabriel Oladipo, who finished ninth in the discus at the World Youth Championships) and Isaiah (Rogers, who finished 10th in the boys’ shot in Cali). Another would be Jordan Geist, a rival of mine in both the shot and discus. Gabe and I are good competitors and good friends.
My best achievement in athletics
Winning gold at the World Youth Championships. Holding the flag aloft was an amazing experience that you don’t get to feel too often. I have never felt that happy. I felt huge pride representing the United States. It was one of the most amazing feelings.
My greatest disappointment
I remember competing awfully one year at the Junior Olympics. I had a very bad day. I finished third and threw 30ft under my PR. I was very upset. I know it sounds bad to say because I did finish third in the competition, but if you threw 30ft under your PR you would understand. Up until that point I had won most competitions and it came as a shock but it finally taught me to learn how to lose and I rebounded back the next week.
My greatest indulgence
Netflix. When I’m bored, I watch Netflix. I’ve been watching Hawaii Five-0, Archer and Psych.
The best competition venue
By far the biggest stadium I have ever competed in is the Pascual Guerrero Stadium in Cali, Colombia. It was huge and I really enjoyed competing there. It was probably three times bigger than any stadium I have competed at in the US, which is crazy to think.
The best athlete I have ever seen
Probably Adam Nelson (the 2004 Olympic shot put champion). I have personally got to know him. He’s been a big influence on me and helped me out a lot. Adam also definitely helped create more interest in the shot. It is now much more in the public eye. It is crazy to think how much it has grown in the past 10 years.
The best piece of coaching advice
It is to stay calm. This is especially true in the discus. I find in the shot I can get really fired up when throwing but because the discus is more technical I have to really calm down. Discus is a bit like golf in that if you try too hard, you screw up.
My best friend in track and field
I would say all of my team-mates at school. We are like a family.
Steve Landells for the IAAF