Godina ready for World Outdoor Championships


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
317-261-0478 x317

HELSINKI, Finland - Two-time Olympic men's shot put medalist John Godina will look to put his recent injuries and illness aside when he competes in the men's shot put Saturday at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki.

The owner of three world outdoor championship gold medals (1995, '97, '99) Godina got off to a quick start in 2005 in winning the USA Indoor title with a Visa Championship Series winning throw of 21.83 meters/71 feet, 7.5 inches. Godina posted a personal best and world-leading throw this outdoor season of 22.20m/72-10 in winning the adidas Track Classic in Carson, Calif., before placing third at the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships. Since the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on June 11, Godina has been battling a series of nagging injuries that continue to hamper him.

Q: After such a great start this season, could you update us on how you are feeling coming into these World Championships?

A: Definitely not healthy. After the New York meet, I injured my foot. It spiraled into other injuries. Elbow on the right side, then elbow on the left side. I've had a little bit of a hand injury as well, then I got a stomach virus in England last week. I'm just trying to hold on here.

Q: How much has that stomach virus weakened you?

A: I'm starting to fell better now. I got it last Thursday. It's been a full week of being sick. I'm still a little low on energy, but I feel good enough to throw well.

Q: How about your problems with your elbows? Are they still nagging you?

A: My right's fine. My left still nags a bit. There's always the foot. A little bit left over, too. I need some real time off to let that heal right.

Q: So, you have a delicate balance between resting and getting enough practice in so you're strong.

A: Yea, that's the hard part. Hopefully, I'm old enough to pull it off and I know what I'm doing.

Q: How do you approach that? Do you just listen to yourself and just make your best guess?

A: Yes, you have to. When you're younger you just go, but at this stage you have to plan it out a little bit better.

Q: You got off to a fast start this year with a personal best throw (22.20m/72 feet, 10 inches) among other fine performances. What was that like for you?

A: I knew the whole time that as long as I stayed healthy it would only get better, and then I got hurt and that kind of put a stop to things. The hard part is not necessarily being injured because you can overcome an injury short-term at a track meet or whatever, but when it's there for a while and you try to train it kind of changes your technique and that's the hardest part in learning bad things and learning to pull yourself out of that, and that's where we're at right now.

Q: To go from throwing better than ever to being injured must be very difficult.

A: It's very frustrating. It's probably the most mentally difficult season of my career so far just because it started so well. I've never had injury after injury like this year. It's just been amazingly fast the way everything's come at me the way injuries go. It's been tough psychologically and it's gonna take a lot of toughness here to win this thing.

Q: How confident are you that you can compete well on Saturday?

A: I'm pretty confident. Looking back I think we've handled everything properly after the injuries occurred. We've done what we could. I don't think there's anything we could have done better, so now it's just a matter of how much can you get out of it. How much will the body give you, so I'm kind of at the mercy of that.

Q: Does it help you mentally to know that you've done everything you could to be ready to compete?

Q: It is a comfort, but at the same time it's frustrating because after all that good work all year, and it's not like you did anything wrong, but you're not going to be at the peak at where you want to be that's frustrating.

Q: You've won three world outdoor titles in the past, so it seems that this is your meet. Does that have you excited?

A: Yes, definitely. It's nice to be in Finland too, because they love throwers here. I was really planning on building and building and being able to produce a major throw here at the end of the season, and now it's one of those situations where I'm going to try my hardest just to win. One of these years it's just going to be comfortable and easy for me, and this was going to be that year, but the body disagreed with me.

Q: As much as the fans in Finland love throwing events, are you hoping to get a lift from them when you step in the ring?

A: I sure hope so. They are always good about that here. I don't want to disappoint them.

Q: What would a fourth world outdoor championships gold medal mean to you?

A: Honestly I wouldn't even think of it in that context. Winning again at this point would be the greatest individual thing I've ever done considering the physical situation that I'm in. I don't think there could be anything any better than that.

Q: With Adam Nelson and Christian Cantwell also having strong seasons, how would you feel about you three all ending up on the awards podium?

A: That would be incredible. It's never been done, so it would be awesome. We've been talking about how it should happen a lot, but when you take the USA vs. the entire earth it's very hard to get three people on the podium.