Athletes Prepare for Downtown Shot Put to be held Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.
April 17, 2012
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Several of the elite athletes slated to compete in the downtown shot put met with members of the media Tuesday evening to discuss the event which will be held in Downtown Lawrence on Wednesday, April 18. In attendance were Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson, Dan Taylor, Ryan Whiting and Cory Martin, all of whom discussed their excitement to participate in such a unique and fan friendly event.
Below are transcripts and videos of the athletes’ press interviews.
The event, which will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at the 100 East block of Eighth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire Streets, will feature an appearances by Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawk mascot, multiple prize giveaways for fans, music from D.J. Travis Read and a bounce house for the young fans.
The events are free to the public and will be held in concurrence with the 85th Kansas Relays, which will be held April 18-21 at Memorial Stadium.
Reese Hoffa2012 Kansas Relays
Downtown Shot Put Press Conference
April 17, 2012 -- Lawrence, Kan.
On if he can just assume he’s going to make the Olympics:
“Absolutely not; right now we have five guys – and those are just five tip of the iceberg guys – there are other really hungry guys that would love to be on that team also. For the Olympic Trials, I have to be prepared to go in there and throw 72-feet plus to legitimately give me a chance and it may take even more than that.”
On if he has a prediction of what he’ll throw Wednesday:
“I have no prediction; I used to do predictions on what I would throw and I did it in Poland this year. I went in saying I was going to throw 72 feet and I ended up throwing 68 feet, so we’ll just say that I feel like I am in pretty good shape and I’m hoping to make it a consistent 70-plus feet.”
On if he encourages the fans to come out this year:
“Absolutely; the fans are what make the street meets so much fun. Without the fans, it’s just like a practice for us; the fans getting excited and cheering are when you’ll see the ball go really far. They are the people who make the meet; without the fans, it’s not very fun.”
On what he will do after track:
"Hopefully I can get a really good coaching position. I’m taking the Georgia test to become a school teacher so hopefully I can become a P.E. teacher or get a collegiate position.”
On his return to the Kansas Relays and downtown shot put:
“This is a hard time of year to start competing because it is so early for us, but I think the fact that you have 10 or 11 of the greatest throwers in the world coming here speaks to the quality of the competition and the environment that (event coordinator) Milan (Donley) created.”
On being in a downtown environment:
“It is phenomenal. To have a street meet in the U.S. is so much fun and it gives us a chance to showcase what we are really good at in an intimate setting. To me ,the best part is how close the fans are to the action. You can almost have a conversation with them throughout the whole competition, whereas in a big stadium the field events get lost by what’s going on outside of the track.”
On what the crowd will see tomorrow night:
“When you see someone throw a 16-pound ball more than 70 feet like all of these guys here are capable of doing, you realize what we mean when we say we are some of the world’s most powerful athletes.”
On his thoughts about the Kansas Relays:
“I’ve been here plenty of times; this will be my ninth Kansas Relays in a row and the second time where they’ve had the shot put downtown. Having it downtown is unbelievable and we had a great crowd last year so hopefully we’ll have an even better crowd this year.”
On if he likes the downtown atmosphere:
“The turnout last year was unbelievable and to have everybody that close to you and just having shot put makes it that much more intense. You feel like you need to perform better just because everyone is right there watching you.”
On his goals for this year:
“The main goal for this year would be to make the Olympic Games so hopefully that happens but the main focus is the Olympic Trials at the end of June. That’s really the big goal for this year.”
On if he develops friendships with the other shot put competitors traveling to meets:
“It’s been the same group of guys for a long time and some of us have the same representation and we might leave out of the same airports. You get to know these guys pretty well; we share rooms together in Europe, so we’ve all known each other for quite a while.”
On how long it took to get through his injury:
“About a year and a half total until I was back to the level that I left off at before the injury. To actually heal physically, it took about two months before I could throw a ball again and then I went to NC’s (National Championships) and got second to Cory (Martin) over there. I was the favorite because of the indoor season but he won on the day and the next year I won both indoor and outdoor, but I still wasn’t at the level I wanted to be at. Then my senior year I kind of picked it back up and I kind of got complacent after winning my first one and thought I was didn’t have to work anymore so I had to flip a switch and get back on track.”
On what he thinks is the biggest difference between discus and shot put:
“It’s definitely a feel thing; there are a lot of people that are more prone to the discus and a lot that are built for shot. (KU’s) Mason (Finley), being 6-8, is built to being a discus thrower in my mind. Technically there isn’t a huge difference; discus is just a little longer.”
On why he thinks it’s been so tough to place in both discus and shot put:
“The level you have to be at is really tough; it’d be like a jumper doing long and triple. It’s not like sprinters where if you’re fast, you’re fast. If you’re a thrower you have to train in both events so it’s a lot different and it’s a tough thing to be competitive in one, so to add another one would be even tougher.”
On participating in the downtown shot put event:
“I love it. I like the excitement of the crowd and how close they are. It is just a great thing because it gets more attention to the event and somewhat to the sport as well.”
On competing so close the crowd:
“When you can be five feet away from somebody competing, it is so much better than sitting up in the stands and watching it. There is also more of a focus on us because a lot of the times we are inside the track and everyone is looking at the running and sprinting events, so it is fun to have all the attention on you.”
On the closeness of his competitors:
“We are always rooting for each other and during the competition if someone goes by somebody, there is no love lost, but other than that, we hang out after the meets.”