Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michael Mai captures silver medal in the hammer at Pan Am Games...

GUADALAJARA, Mexico--As part of a 1-2 finish, US Army major Michael Mai (left/photo by Paul Merca), who until this past spring, was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, took the silver medal in the hammer throw on the third day of track & field competition at the Pan American Games at Telemex Athletic Stadium.

Mai, who competed as a member of Team USA at the world track & field championships in Daegu in August, threw a best of 238-6 (72.71m) on his fifth attempt to finish behind teammate Kibwe Johnson, who set a Pan Am Games meet record with a toss of 261-3 (79.63m), besting Lance Deal's 1999 mark of 261-2 (79.61m) set in Winnipeg.

Afterwards, Mai, who is now based in the San Francisco Bay area as part of the Army's World Class Athlete Program, said, “It is great for the U.S. to take first and second. I was definitely shooting for gold like anybody else. I wasn’t happy with my distance. I thought I could have done a lot better. It was difficult to get it going but that’s just on me."

“Some people took time off after the World Championships. I went right into a heavy cycle and then tapered off a bit. I’m not at my best shape for the whole year but I’m still close to a peak."

"Hopefully, I can take the momentum of this silver medal into next year. It’s all about getting that ‘A’ standard to make the Olympic team. And with Kibwe (Johnson) being the only guy who has it right now, the field is wide open. My plan is to be one of those three guys on the team."

He got an extra bit of motivation during the competition, as wife Deirdre was in the high jump finals while he was throwing. Deirdre took fourth with a best of 6-0.5 (1.84m).

"She was out there cheering for me and she help get me motivated before my last couple throws. It is always nice to have here there and she is a big reason where I am where I am. I can’t say enough about her and me pushing each other to better and better performances.”

University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond, a two time Pan Am Games champion in the discus, will compete on Friday.

Results from day 3 of the track & field competition at the Pan Am Games are available here.

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