Despite a lack of sleep following a trans-continental flight, life is good at the moment for Dylan Armstrong.
“It’s been a busy summer so far,” admitted the current shot put leader in the Diamond League world rankings. “A lot of European meets and a heavy schedule but it’s going good. Training is going good and the competitions are going good.”
Going good might be a bit of an understatement as the man-mountain from Kamloops, BC is enjoying the most successful stretch of his career.
Armstrong has followed up his gold medal performance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi with prestigious Diamond League wins in Doha, Rome and this past weekend in Birmingham, England. In addition he found time to shatter his own Canadian record while setting the high-mark of the season so far with a world lead toss of 22.21 metres earlier this month at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary.
Instead of taking some much deserved time off, the 30-year old flew in from Europe to compete in the National Track League’s Toronto International Track & Field Games on Wednesday. He then gets the opportunity to return home for five days before jet setting off to Monaco to continue his European season.
Although he was obviously weary from his travels, he realizes now is no time for rest.
“I don’t take any time off,” he said. Not for the next year. I have to go now and I have to go hard. I’m at a point in my career where I am 30 but I feel that I have another three to five good years left. Next year is obviously really important so I have to press hard.”
While he admits that he is focused on his current season, the London 2012 Games are certainly on his mind after narrowly missing the podium in Beijing in 2008.
“After being that close in Beijing and losing by one centimetre, I thought I’m just as good as these guys. I can beat them’. I just needed time. Getting another four years with my coach and putting in the time, putting in the work, I knew the big throws would come.”
And come they have as Armstrong holds a healthy lead on his closest competitor in the Diamond League standings, however as any elite athlete knows, once you hit the top, everyone is coming after you.
It appeared as though controversy was brewing over Armstrong’s new found success as American shot putter Adam Nelson recently remarked that while Armstrong breaking the Canadian record and setting the seasons world lead toss was impressive it should be taken with a grain of salt.
“Dylan had a good throw, I hear, but it’s pretty easy when you don’t have to compete against anybody,” Nelson said following his own victory at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon last month.
While Armstrong realizes that the comments were said in jest he knows that actions speak much louder than words.
“He’s just taking a few friendly stabs at me but I do my talking on the field, just like I did in Birmingham.”
Canadian track fans will get their final glimpse of Armstrong in competition on Wednesday at Varsity Stadium. After a brief pause he returns to Europe for Diamond League meets in Monaco and Stockholm. Then it’s right into the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea at the end of August. With all of his recent success there might be a fear that he had peaked too early. Not so says Armstrong.
“I don’t have one peak a year, I have multiple peaks every year,” the Canadian record holder said confidently. “I’ve got to keep performing at that high level and pull back a bit before Daegu so that when I get into it I can really bang one out there.”
With that self belief paired with the talent to back it up, fans of track and field will be in for a real treat as they watch Armstrong take the next step in his career so that this time next year, the one centimetre short in Beijing will seem like a distant memory.
The future is extremely bright for Dylan Armstrong and London 2012 may well be his crowning achievement. Catch him while you can Canada.