The shot put is one of my favorite disciplines in track & field. The event has had, for the past decade, a phenomenal group of male and female athletes. Colorful, witty, and competitive, many meets have just not appreciated the excitement that a well-produced shot put competiton can produce.
One of the finest athletes in the shot put for the past decade has been Tomasz Majewski, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion. Tomasz is the quiet and thoughtful Polish giant of the shot put.
Tomaz Majewski will retire from shot put competition on Monday, September 5 in Zagreb.
I wanted to write some thoughts down on Mr. Majewski and his magnifiscent performances in two Olympics. I will miss the Silent Giant.
Tomasz Majewski is one of the finest shot putters in history. His gold medal in 2012 (London), after his gold medal in 2008 (Beijing), did something not done since 1956! Back in 1956, Parry O’Brien defended his shot put title. The quality of the event since 1956 has been such that, defending the title was not accomplished.
Tomasz won gold and bronze in the European Outdoor Athletics Championships (2010 in Barcelona and 2014 in Zurich), and gold in the European Indoor Athletics Championships (2009 in Torino). In 2009, he took the silver medal in the World Outdoor Championships.
Tomasz Majewski sets PB in the outdoor shot in DN Galan with a 21.95m from 2009. In 2012, indoors, Tomasz Majewski threw 21.72m. Both of his PBs are Polish national records.
One sees the athletes competing at various meets around the circuit. I had seen Majewski compete in every one of his champs since 2004. I would see this tall athlete, with a Jerry Garcia t-shirt on an early flight from Frankfurt, and it was Tomasz Majewski. Majewski speaks with the shot putters on the circuit and is well respected, but he is a tall quiet guy in a group of extroverts. Majewski competes with a tough crowd and gets his competitor’s respect. In the end, the respect of one’s peers is big deal.
Majewski is very focused during his throwing, and he is a perfectionist. I have watched him, in between throws, talk to himself, and reprimand himself on less than stellar throws. But, that is the life of a shot putter, as one seeks out that perfect throw, and at times, that one centimeter that separates one from a medal and fourth place.
Majewski’s performances in Beijing and London were not surprises, but showed that Tomasz could take on anyone at anytime. In my few conversations with Tomasz, I always found him thoughtful and with keen observation skills.
Shot putters, like distance runners, sprinters and jumpers, look for those perfect moments. In 2009, when Tomasz hit his outdoor PB of 21.95m, he had a fine series, 21.65m, 21.95m, 21.44m, foul, foul, 21.83m).
Watching throwers as I do, one notices the little things. Majewski, Nelson, Cantwell, and now Reese, Crouser, Kovacs, Zunic, draw the best out of each other. In 2015 and 2016, Majewski was dealing with injuries, but he held up, and finished in sixth place in Beijing 2015 and Rio 2016.
Over thirteen years, Tomasz Majewski has developed into one of the finest and most competitive throwers on the circuit. A glider in a world of spinners, Majewski was the wikipedia example of a fine glider.
So tomorrow, in Zagreb, Tomasz Majewski will join Ryan Crouser, Joe Kovacs, Tomas Walsh and Stipe Zunic to compete in his final competition. It is the classy way to go out of the sport in a final competition. Our friend, Bernard Lagat did it over 3000 meters in ISTAF Berlin on Saturday. Great athletes compete until they know it is time to call it a day.
We wish Tomasz luck and thank him for thirteen years of giving his best in the shot put for all of this time.