Thursday, August 28, 2008

Post Olympic thoughts from Kara Patterson (part one)...

EDITOR'S NOTE: After things settled down, caught up with Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Victah Sailer, The Running Network/, who threw 54.00m/177-2 on her first attempt in the women’s javelin, finishing 21st in her flight at the Olympics in Beijing.

Kara, who is finally back in school at Purdue University in Indiana, was kind enough to share her thoughts on the competition, and the entire Olympic experience.

In part one, she talks specifically about the competition and what it meant to have her family and friends in the stands at the "Bird's Nest".
Part two will be posted in a few days...


I felt fantastic coming into the competition. I was relaxed and confident, but really excited to be in the position I was; about to throw in the qualifying round of the real Olympics.

Attending events at the National Stadium (the Bird's Nest) in the days prior to my event really prepared me for the size of the crowd and the atmosphere of the venue, so I definitely knew
what I was getting myself into.

I felt good on the runway and felt strong technically; the javelin just didn't go as far as it felt like it should. I know what I did wrong (and Coach Rodney Zuyderwyk agreed that I almost got things right), and I'm ready to build on the amazingly fun season I've had this year in the coming
collegiate season. I was really upset after my last throw, and the disappointment I feel about my performance is simply affirmation that I'm extremely competitive and demand success from myself. In other words, I'll be back on this stage, more prepared and very hungry for a better result.

Coach Zuyderwyk is the only person I would ever be happy with as my coach right now. The competitive streak that he possesses mirrors my own; I know that he's as excited about my last collegiate season as I am, and experiencing the disappointment that we both did here is now just something to use as motivation.


I could not have experienced anything better in terms of having people here that care about me and my athletic endeavors. I really can't say thank you enough to everyone in Vancouver and across the nation that took the time to send me words of encouragement.

Southwest Washington has made it known that they are excited about what I'm attempting to accomplish in the javelin and I truly could not be more grateful. I cannot wait to get back home at some point and hug everyone I see, because it really feels like I heard from everyone I know once they found out I was on my way to Beijing. THANK YOU.

My family is amazing!!! My parents and brother came to China to watch me throw, and I'm so happy with the way they support me in athletics. It was so comforting to have them here after I didn't have the success I wanted to; instead of dwelling on it, we could go sightseeing and really experience what Beijing has to offer from a cultural standpoint. I know that they understand
my disappointment, but they know me well enough to simply be there for me.

I had a surprise spectator in Beijing as well! My boyfriend, recent graduate of University of Idaho and stellar shot putter Russ Winger (he finished fifth at the Olympic Trials) , flew to China Sunday night to watch me throw on Tuesday morning.

My family, coach, roommate, friends back at home, and others all knew he was coming, but I had absolutely no idea. If there were any nerves about throwing Tuesday lurking in me, his presence erased them; having someone fly literally around the world to support you gives you a little boost of confidence! That is the best present I've ever received.

John Porter, a former Purdue pole vaulter, also made the trip to Beijing! He's a pilot now, so all he has to do is hop on a plane. It was awesome to have a Purdue contingent in China; John is one of the more excitable people I've met, and the enthusiasm he brought to our sightseeing adventures was really fun to be around. :) John made it seem absolutely normal to be trekking
around the largest city I've ever been in!

IN PART TWO: The Olympic experience...

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