Olympic javelin thrower finds home in Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An Olympian javelin thrower calls Birmingham home thanks to a throwing community created right here in the Magic City! Curtis Thompson is part of the U.S.A. Javelin Project.
A javelin weighs less than a WBRC microphone, so about a pound. Meaning it takes a lot of strength to throw this thing to hit the Olympic standard of 85 meters.
“I remember 2016, first Olympic team I tried out for, missed it by 12 centimeters for the standard,” Thompson said. “Definitely could have just said eh I’m good, I tried.”
But Thompson didn’t. Instead the New Jersey native and Mississippi State alum moved to Birmingham to train with the U.S.A Javelin Project coached by two-time Olympian, Tom Pukstys at Samford.
“Definitely one of the first, if not the only group of javelin throwers in the U.S. that train together,” Thompson said.
“I’m just proud to be part of a group that’s throwing farther and farther and having someone like Curtis just gives us more credibility,” Pukstys said.
Thompson’s group training paid off. After a year in Birmingham, he made the Olympic team for Tokyo!
“I show them the tattoo, and they go is this serious, and I go why would I tattoo on myself if I’ve never been there” Thompson said.
What started as a training ground has turned into home.
“For me, I substitute at Spain Park, and I also coach there,” Thompson said.
Thompson said it’s been easy to get involved in the community through the javelin project. Plus, southern hospitality doesn’t hurt.
“Just awesome to see how many people care and are willing to help,” Thompson said.
He’ll continue to compete around the world, while training in Birmingham, with the hopes of making another Olympic team in 2024.
“It’s a passion, a dream a goal of yours, and you keep fighting for it till you get it,” Thompson said.
Curtis’s next competition is the diamond league meet in Poland on Saturday.
The U.S.A. Javelin Project holds clinics around central Alabama. Follow them on Instagram at @USAJavelinProject to keep up with dates. The next clinic will be in November.
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