Sean Furey's Magnificent obsession, by Elliott Denman

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Sean Furey, photo by PhotoRun.net


On Thursday night, I was sitting in the stands, near the start of the 1,500 meters, and watching the javelin with some of my friends. I chanced to look up and watch Sean Furey, on his last throw, let er rip and that javelin stayed in the air for long enough to hear "oooooh" and "whoooooa" from the javelin geeks sitting in front of me. 

Sean Furey won the javelin on his last throw, with  PB of 83.08 meters and a English measurement of 272 feet, 8 inches. 

Sean Furey is sponsored by ASICS. ASICS Tony Herr told me that Sean was one of his fun finds. "Sean just wanted to continue throwing and needed some support." 

Nice how those things happen. 

For javelin throwers, Sean Furey is pretty normal. Throwers have big personalities, like Breaux Greer, or Tom Petronoff. Sean Furey emotes when he throws, willing the javelin to find a current of air and just stay suspended for that many more seconds. 

A long javelin throw can take one's breath away. 

Here is a fine piece by Elliott Denman on Sean Furey and his magnificent obsession with the javelin. 
  EUGENE - "I'm 32 now (awaiting his 33rd birthday on the 31st of August) and I wouldn't be doing these things to my body if I didn't think I was improving."
 That was Sean Furey's all-smiles message to the minions of the media gathered in the press tent outside the main stand of historic Hayward Field late Thursday afternoon.
   The veteran spear-chucker, a Dartmouth College engineering grad out of Methuen, Mass.,had just delivered the longest javelin throw of his life to win  the gold medal in the USA National Championships, representing his ticket to July's Pan American Games in Toronto, and August's World Championships in Beijing.
   He unloaded his big winner in the sixth and final round and saw it fly, and fly, and fly,until it touched down 272 feet, 7 inches away.
  "The adrenaline was flowing," he said. "I just made it happen."
   It represented the third USA title of his life (the others came in 2010 and last year) and was a thoroughly-pleasing PR (his previous best was a 271-5 in 2012.)
    Just as he'd done last year, when this meet was held in Sacramento, Furey relegated North Dakota State grad Riley Dolezal to second place.
  Dolezal's 264-11 in the third round had held up as the leader until Furey turned all the tables with his last one.
   Third went to Oregon's own Sam Crouser at 249-1 and a most notable sixth at 237-8 (after winning the Junior National title in the morning at 237-4) was Mississippi State freshman Curtis Thompson, out of New Jersey's Florence Township High School.
  Not since the days of Breaux Greer (still the American record-holder with his 299-6 in 2007) has Team USA had a male javelin thrower capable of duking it out with the world's best.
  But, maybe just maybe, Furey will turn into that man.
   If so, it's been a long time coming.
 He'd gone 227-3 back in 2007, the year he won the National Scholastic title for Methuen High.  And he showed gradual progress at Dartmouth, improving his best from 232-4 to 240-1 to 242-2 in 2003-4-5.
  It still took him years more to make further major PR advances, from 263-11 in 2008, to 267-9 in 2011, to 271-5 in 2012.
  He'd been 16th in the Olympic Trials in 2004, seventh in 2008, and fourth in 2012, but got to the London Games that year when he had a qualifying toss and an unlucky rival who'd beaten him in he Trials did not.
  His London Games may have been a great educational experience but hardly memorable otherwise.  In the big Olympic field, he ranked 37th.
  "It was humbling," he said.
Now, though, he's in a groove he hopes he maintains at least through the Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games of 2016.
   A mechanical engineer working (a 20-hours-a-week schedule) on U.S. Navy contract assignments for the Raytheon Corporation, he's based in San Diego and prepping at the U.S. Olympic Training
 Center in nearby Chula Vista.
 "It's a very good situation," he tells you. "I get to train at the best training center in the world and everything's there for me."
  Once upon a time, USA men ruled the javelin world.  Cy Young and Bill Miller went 1-2 in the 1952 Olympics. 
Clarence "Bud" Held set a string of world records.  Mark Murro was first out to 300; Bob Roggy blasted his spear out past 314 feet and then Tom Petranoff past 329, high enough, far enough to force a change in the javelin's specifications to curtail distances and preclude accidents.
    Next came Breaux Greer, who had all that it took, but eventually ran into the injuries that wrecked his ambitions of major success on the sport's biggest stages.  He was last working the TV "Gladiator Show" circuit.
  Fast forward now.
   Does Sean Furey have what it takes to - someday, somehow, some way - make it to the very top of the world heap? .
  "I'd like to think I do," he told the press.
   And if it isn't there, well, there's always golf.
  Even there, however, it would be an uphill battle - just to be number one in the Furey family.
  "Let me tell you about my brother Ryan," said big brother Sean.  "He hits the ball really well.
He's pretty close to getting his PGA card.  I'm not bad (as a golfer), but Ryan, he's really going to be something."

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