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TrackLife International

Keshorn Walcott: Surprise Performance of 2012

This young Trinidadian javelin thrower truly has hurled his way up the ranks. He was a three-time winner in the Under-20 javelin throw at the CARIFTA Games, a two-time North, Central American and Caribbean champion (2010, 2012 (record), and the 2012 World Junior champion. In those competitions his rivals were no match for him; he would simply break his personal record and destroy his opponents.

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Walcott winning in London.

His story is a true fairytale. At 15 years old, the tall lad realized his passion for sports, but he could not sprint nor jump, so had started hurling bamboo sticks on the beaches near his home before throwing a javelin for fun with his cousins on a school field. With no proper training facility in his small village of Toco, Walcott would travel to the capital Port of Spain where he could better hone his skills.

Even so, the odds were still against him; he was in a Caribbean island with no history in the event. Like his island neighbors, interests usually rest in other areas of track and field, cricket, football and netball. But with the conditioning by Cuban-born coach Ismael Mastrapa of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago, the young talent grew from strength to strength.

In 2012, Walcott flew to London with hardly a dream of winning. However, less than a month after winning the world junior title, Walcott defeated the champions from the European javelin strongholds to win Olympic gold with a throw of 84.58 meters, after taking the lead in the first round. His second round throw was enough to hold off Ukraine’s Oleksandr Pyatnytsya’s third effort of 84.51 meters.

The new Olympic champion became only the second non-European to take the crown in 100 years of the Games, the first being an American at the 1952 Helsinki Games. In addition, he became the nation’s first gold medalist since the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, when Hasely Crawford won the 100m title. It was a wow moment that makes him the biggest surprise of the Games.

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