INDIANAPOLIS - Kibwé Johnson of the New York Athletic Club has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after smashing his lifetime best in the hammer throw by nearly two meters to win in 80.09m/262-9 at Uberlandia, Brazil on May 18.
|© John Nepolitan
Johnson’s throw moves him up to third on the all-time national list, only behind Olympic silver medalist Lance Deal, and Johnson’s former coach, Jud Logan.
“It means a lot [to be ranked as the third best American hammer thrower], and I think it is important to know where I came from, and the history of my event,” Johnson said.”I’m going to continue challenging myself and do my part, so when you talk about the world hammer throw, you have to mention the U.S. again - like it used to be.”
While he knew he was capable of throwing a new personal best while competing in Brazil, the mark took Johnson by surprise. On his sixth attempt, he thought, “man, that looks kinda far,” and waited for the mark to appear on the score board. When he realized he broke the 80-meter mark, he froze in shock, but quickly regrouped for his final attempt.
Johnson first gained attention in 2007 with his silver medal at the Pan Am games and his win at the USA Indoor Championships. After his initial burst onto the hammer throwing scene, Johnson struggled with fouls at major competitions and had not improved his 2005 PR of 78.25m/256-8. In 2008, Johnson made the decision to move from Ohio to Kamloops, B.C., Canada to train with Anatoly Bondarchuck.
“This reaffirms that I am on track to accomplish my goal to be an Olympic medalist,” Johnson said. “And that the sacrifice to move across the continent wasn’t absolutely crazy.”
Week in review -- May 16-22
From USATF Statistician Glen McMicken
Primm shocks 800 field at Oxy
UCLA's Cory Primm
took advantage of a break between the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA first round, rolling to a stunning 1:44.71 in the 800m at the USATF High Performance meet at Occidental College. It made him No. 4 on the all-time collegiate list, behind only Jim Ryun, Julius Achon and Mark Everett. Primm and Tyler Mulder
of the Oregon TC also nabbed World Championships "A" standards, with Mulder clocking 1:44.83 in second.
and Maggie Vessey
picked up Daegu "A" qualifiers in the women's 800m with Schmidt winning in a national-leading 1:59.48 and Vessey second at 1:59.56.
A 2008 Olympian at 800m, Andrew Wheating
won the men's 1500m in 3:36.46, his second fastest time ever, just ahead of former Texas runner Kyle Miller
, who clipped almost five seconds off his previous PR with a 3:36.82. Katie Follett ran the fastest outdoor time by an American woman in 2011, winning the 1500m at 4:07.44.
Steeplechaser Lisa Aguilera
had a sizable winning margin, but her 9:43.95 season best was just outside the Worlds "A" standard.
Javelin duo over 80m at Tucson
and Mike Hazle
surpassed the 80-meters mark in the javelin at the Tucson Elite Throwers Classic, with White notching a national-leading 81.70m/268-0 effort. Hazle took second at 81.09m/266-0.
, who set an American indoor record earlier this year, extended her hot streak in the women's shot put with a 19.37m/63-6.75 winner.
Padgett sub-10 at Clermont
Former Clemson star Travis Padgett
, who finished fourth at the '08 Olympic Trials, dipped under 10 seconds for the third time in his career at the NTC Classic in Clermont, Florida, riding a just-legal 2.0 wind to a 9.99 to take second.
South Plains sweeps juco national titles
Rend Lake's Zack Riley
had the top individual effort with his lifetime-best 2.26m/7-5 win in the men's high jump, but South Plains College (Levelland, Texas) swept the team trophies at the NJCAA Championships in Hutchinson, Kansas.