Maggie Malone, photo by PhotoRun.net
This is Lindsay Rossmiller’s ninth story for RunBlogRun this Olympic Trials. We trusted her judgement and she provided a wonderful series of personal views.
by Lindsay Rossmiller
EUGENE, Ore. – To say Maggie Malone has had an outstanding year is an understatement. Less than a month ago, she won the women’s javelin at the NCAA championships at the same time she also broke the collegiate record.
And then to top it all off, Malone followed that up with first place on her return trip to Hayward Field at the U.S. Olympic Trials to earn herself a trip to Brazil.
“It’s just surreal to be here and say that I’m going to Rio,” said Malone.
Malone threw 60.84 meters. She will be joined by Hannah Carson (58.19) and Kara Winger (57.90).
Malone never trailed, but her fifth round throw was her winning throw. And as it became apparent that Brittany Borman wasn’t going to displace any of the top three in the last round, Malone said her only thought was that she could now get a tattoo. Upon further reflection though, she thought that might wait.
As she stood on the top of the podium with her blonde curly hair hanging from her ponytail, the young woman from Geneva, Neb. flashed a huge smile and gave the crowd a thumbs up.
“It’s weird,” said Malone. “I would have never thought I would go to the Olympics in javelin. I thought I was going to be in the WNBA.”
Growing up as the child of teachers who were also coaches in her small Nebraska town of about 2,000 people, Malone was a multi-sport athlete who did basketball, track, softball and volleyball. It was only after her first two years of college as a heptathlete at the University of Nebraska that they discovered Malone had a particular knack for throwing.
She transferred to Texas A&M and after struggling to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA championships in 2015, Malone vowed to return better.
“My goal this year was to not get ninth at Nationals, like that was my goal, and to be the Olympic Trials winner is so crazy,” said Malone. “God just works in mysterious ways and I’m so blessed.”
She attributes the turnaround as the product of advice she received from one of her college teammates at Texas A&M.
“2015 was a disaster. That was the worst season I’ve ever had,” said Malone. “My teammate, Lindon Victor back in College Station, was like ‘You know, champions are built in the summer,’ and I worked my butt off in the summer.”
It all paid off when Malone used her fifth throw of 62.19 meters at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships to break the collegiate record.
Audrey Malone, her younger sister, was third.
“My record is not safe for long,” said Maggie Malone after her win at the Trials. “I think she will be here in four years. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s going to be here and hopefully we can share that experience again.”
On the second Saturday of the U.S. Olympic Trials, the Malone sisters were together on the infield again for the javelin final. Audrey Malone finished eleventh, but got to witness her sister win.
“I’ve been through the entire process,” said Audrey Malone. “I’ve seen her work her butt off, have terrible practices, have great practices and to see her get her dream of being able to compete for our country is unreal.”
“We’re our biggest competitors and our biggest supporters. Just to have her praying for me out there, that was huge,” said Maggie Malone.
And while Maggie Malone gets to prepare for Rio, she’s already thinking about the next four years.
“[Audrey] is going to come back and she’s going to throw over 62 meters, I know she is,” said Malone. “I’m going to work hard just to keep setting it higher and higher.”
Malone, who signed with Nike just before the qualifying rounds of the javelin began, is hopeful this is the beginning of a long career.
“Glory to God, this is the most incredible journey,” said Malone. “I’m just so blessed to be here.”