Olympic javelin ace Thomas Rohler talks about why he spends so much of his time focused on throwing an 800g javelin as far as possible.
“I grew up a typical active German kid fascinated by all sports. I loved throwing stones from the shore and quickly became involved in the sport of track and field. I competed in many events, but I do recall watching the javelin on TV at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a nine-year-old and saying to my father – one day I want to do that event. I was fascinated by javelin. Surprisingly, I competed mainly as a triple jumper and high jumper for much of my youth and it was only around the age of 17 or 18 after my jumps coach moved away from my club in Jena (coincidentally the city where Jan Zelezny set the men’s world javelin in 1996) and I was asked which event I would like to target, did I focus on javelin for the first time.
“As soon as I started training for javelin I loved the challenge of the event – I still do to this day. It is super technical and although technically I was awful to begin with - a big motivation was to work on and improve my technique.
“Another big attraction of the javelin is the many varied elements to training. I understood really quickly that to train for the event requires some jumping – which I enjoyed from my time as a triple jumper and high jumper. Co-ordination and movement was also important and I have enjoyed the gymnastics exercises, working on the low-wire and all those many aspects to training.
“I also enjoy the fact that I can throw many different implements not only a javelin as part of my training. To spend an hour in the gym and throw stuff is fun!
“As my career has developed, I’ve loved the lifestyle of being an international athlete while being a part of a successful javelin team from Germany has acted as a big motivation.
“But the biggest buzz is I get from competing in javelin is I get to see my work flying. What I most enjoy is when I get to see the javelin flying through the air for four seconds. If I make a mistake, I get instant feedback but if it flies a long way and the crowd make a wild noise, that is something really special.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF