Diamond League Press Conference, Andreas Thorkildsen, Allyson Felix, Valerie Vili, Tero Pitkamaki, Steven Hooker, Photo by PhotoRun.net.
In one of the most lively discussions at the adidas Grand Prix press conferences, Andreas Thorkildsen, the Norwegian javelin superstar, was quite provocative.
When RBR asked him what he would tell U.S. high schoolers, who have not had the chance to throw the javelin (as most U.S. states do not allow the javelin), he replied, quite honestly: ‘ I would tell their associations not to retarded and let them throw the javelin, it is surely much safer than American football!”
And, he is correct. ( For some fascinating reading, try http://www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/AllSport.htm, Study of Catastrophic Injuries in High School Sports, 1982-2006)
Obviously, with that opening comment, we needed to interview Andreas, here is what we
Andreas Thorkildsen, Norway, adidas Grand Prix, 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.
RBR, #1, What would you say to the state associations regarding the javelin?
Andreas Throkildsen: “You are not allowed to throw a javelin, does not make sense to me. As long as you are not throwing the javelin at somebody, it does not seem that dangerous to me.
It seems to me, that running at each other, like one does in high school football, is much more dangerous than throwing a stick into the ground. “
RBR, #2, What is the biggest mistake you made early in your career?
Andreas Thorkildsen: “Well, first, I started throwing when I was about eleven. My father was my first coach. I loved to see the javelin fly… mistakes….The first kind of mistakes that are made is thinking that strength training will increase your distance as much as your strength levels. Always focus on your technical knowledge. Flexibility is very important. I do alot of gymnastics training, I highly suggest that you do gymnastics. I do not run much, I normally do 40 meter repeats. Early in season I will do 45 second run, 15 second breaks, 10-20 seconds break.”
RBR, #3, How often do you throw during the season?
Andreas Thorkildsen: I only throw once a week during the competitive season. I compete about 15 times a season.
RBR, #4, What do you think about the Diamond League?
Andreas Thorkildsen: Well, it will take time to tell, but I think it is great for the sport.
Andreas Thorkildsen, Shanghai DL 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Thorkildsen is thoughtful. He loves his event. He told RBR that he learnt English watching American TV shows as a kid–his US english is perfect, and he has a US accent, which is quite interesting.
Andreas Thorkildsen is a rockstar in Norway. The Guardian called him Norway’s Beckham—that is pretty accurate.
Make sure that you watch the javelin tomorrow at the adidas Grand Prix!
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