GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Kibwe Johnson (San Francisco, Calif.) set a Pan American Games record in the men’s hammer throw, leading a 1-2 finish by Team USA in the event, to highlight the third day of track and field competition at Telemex Athletic Stadium Wednesday.
Johnson set the hammer record of 79.63m/261-3 on his fifth toss to better the previous mark of 79.61m/261-2 set by Lance Deal of Team USA at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
“It (Setting the Pan Am Games record) was one of my goals. I knew if I could get a good throw off I´d have a chance,” said Johnson, who won the silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. I wasn´t sure what kind of shape I was in in warm ups; It was hard for me to tell how far my hammers were going until we started marking them. Once I got up over 77 I knew there was a chance, and I just needed to do a little bit better.”
Michael Mai (LeMars, Iowa) earned the silver medal with a mark of 72.71m/238-6 on his fifth throw. It marked the eighth time Team USA has won two medals in the hammer throw at the Pan American Games, including the seventh time (others: 1999, 1991, 1971, 1963, 1959, 1955 ) that Team USA has won the gold and silver at the same PAG. Mai’s wife, Deirde Mullen (Princeton, N.J.), finished fourth in the women´s high jump, clearing 1.84m/6-0.5 on her first attempt before missing all three tries at 1.87m/6-1.5.
Michael Mai, LeMars, Iowa, men´s hammer throw, silver medal (72.71m/238-6): “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 tappered 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 (U.S. Olympic)
It´s great to represent all the people in LeMars and my family. I know they were watching the meet in Iowa so I´m glad to be out there and do it proud.
My wife took time off after nationals and she is really starting to come around after the wedding and moving out to California where I´m at. She was out there cheering for me and she help get me motivated before my last couple throws. It is always nice to have her there and she is a big reason where I am. I can´t say enough about her. We are pushing each other to better and better performances.”
Source: The Des Moines Register ( article erased )