US hammer thrower Deanna Price has enjoyed a huge breakthrough year and currently sits at No.2 on the world lists courtesy of her Area record effort of 78.12m. The 25-year-old talks to the IAAF to reveal more about her throws journey and passion for her discipline.
“I have always been very physically able. From the age of three, I could ride a bike without training wheels and I cycled a mile-and-a-half to my aunt’s house. From a young age, I tried many sports and quickly excelled at softball, and it was on the softball field as a 15-year-old high school student when my talent for track and field was first recognised. A throws coach noticed I could throw the ball a long way and recommended I try the discus.
“The first time I ever picked up a discus I threw it 74ft (22.5m approx), although it was a little later during my freshman year at high school when I tried the hammer for the first time under my then coach, Gary Cooper.
“I did have not have a happy first memory. I recall swinging the hammer around my head and the handle striking me in the forehead. I thought, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ But Gary, who was such a sweet and kind man, wanted me to do it and I recall some of my first hammer experiences throwing on a concrete path at his home.
“My love for hammer developed over time and I think hardened after I was given a scholarship for both softball and track at college. I has dreamt of doing softball for so long, but I knew I also had potential in hammer.
“Then after I started training with Gwen Berry and Jeneva Stevens (both US hammer internationals) at college (Southern Illinois University), I remember thinking I wanted to be just as good as them and this acted as extra motivation. In 2012 I made the US team to compete at the World U20 Championships in Barcelona, but it wasn’t until I threw 72.30m in 2015 when I first really believed how far I could go in the hammer.
“For me, the best thing about excelling in the hammer is the ability to be able to influence the younger generation. I love the fact my status gives me a platform to speak to kids in school and teach them to embrace their gifts. I have faced issues in the past about body image and I’ve experienced bullying. As one of the strongest women in the world and someone who can bench 265lbs, hammer has made this acceptable. It has taught me to love my body, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Each day I ask myself three questions; what I am doing, why am I doing it and for what purpose? Hammer gives me an answer to all those questions. Whenever an athlete connects with the ball you feel this energy and power on release. For me, hammer is about giving back and showing that women can be strong and beautiful. I could not be happier as a hammer thrower.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF