African Lion of Zion - Vic' Hogan

Like the black-maned Cape Lion of old, a massive, ginger-haired beast spends his days roaming the South African veldt; hunting not gazelle or wildebeest, but the rhinos, hippos and elephants from Germany, Iran, Estonia and Poland. His weapon of choice?... a discus.
Vic' will answer your questions in the social.throwholics thread.

Zylstra: How did you get into throwing?
Hogan: I started in grade 8. I threw shot put about 13m and a friend told me to come try the discus. I did one throw, it landed about 20 meters forward and 20 meters to the right,, and I said, "No...that's not for me." But the one teacher in charge of discus training told me give it one more try... and it went far.

Zylstra: What other sports did you play?
Hogan: I played rugby in school, but I chose discus in grade 10. To give all my focus and effort into one sport. There's an old saying, You cannot chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Zylstra: What do you do during your free time?
Hogan: I love my church, my passion for Jesus is bigger than my passion for athletics, which is not small, so i have my own Homecell–like a church group–really for anyone to join, and to connect them with God in a personal relationship, so that Jesus can change their life. I also love love fishing.

Zylstra: What's your favourite music, musical artist?
Hogan: I like almost everything. Everything but country, heavy heavy metal, reggae and trance. They're great for some but I would lose my mind listening to too much of those. Sometimes I'm up for CRC Radiation Band, Hillsong, Citipointe, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Israel Houghton and the like. Othertimes I like a bit louder stuff like Disciple and Skillet along with some John Mayer and Skrillex.

Zylstra: Do you have another job other than throwing? ... if so, what?
Hogan: I don’t really have a regular job. I'm a agent for Supplements SA, so I do sell some products, but as cheap as possible to help people train better.

Zylstra: What, if any, support do you receive from South Africa and/ or sponsors?
Hogan: I get food, medical, petrol, coaching, gym fees and stuff like that – mostly all my training expenses. They sponsored a few athletes to compete in Europe–paying our plane tickets and accommodations... etc. And I really appreciated that, 'cause that made the door open. I'm also sponsored by Adidas, but only clothes and shoes... etc. no money. Hopefully I'll get an contract now, 'cause the four guys before me was all Nike athletes.

Zylstra: Who bought you your 1st pair of throwing shoes?
Hogan: Yeah, I got them maybe in grade-10, when I left rugby pitch for good for the discus. My father bought me my first pair, Adidas, the blue ones with the silver stripes. They were very expensive that time; about 200$ in 2006. I wore those until I had a hole in every sock [laughter].

Zylstra: What do you keep in your duffle bag?
Hogan: In my bag, when I'm throwing, I'll take my four discs. I use an ATE Supra, Nelco Superspin, a Polanik, and an old German wooden discus, I think it's a Berg... it's very thin and very nice. I'd like to get a few UCS Orange Flyers over here. I will take a towel, throwing shoes, tape for my throwing finger, I always have my music and earphones... it helps me to focus and to pump some adrenalin. At meets I make sure I also have strong coffee, gum and an extra pair of slow throwing shoes.
Emptied dufflebag
Emptied dufflebag

Zylstra: What's your shot PB?
Hogan: 14,32m (46' 11") from one meeting in 2013. But coach said Frantz [Kruger] couldn't throw shot either and that made me feel okay about it [laughter].

Zylstra: Who is your favorite thrower?
Hogan: Virgilius Alekna – I think he is quite a humble guy, I think he is the best ever – he does not look like a big talker, he comes and let the discus do the talking!

Zylstra: Is it possible to break the world record?
Hogan: Well, the Bible say’s that with God all thing are possible. Is it possible to feed 3,000 people with two fishes and five loafs of bread? It is possible to let a blind man see again? Jesus did it. I think God created, or will create someone with that talent... it just depends on that person working hard and having faith in Him.
Zylstra: Agreed, it'll take a miracle.

Zylstra: Favorite stadiums?
Hogan: I must say Moscow was sweet!! Then Pretoria, LC de Villiers– South Africa

Zylstra: Where do you train?
Hogan: I train in Kleinmond, South Africa. From the day I started, I had to make own discus circle. For almost seven years I could only throw on a cricket pitch; everyday I drew a circle with a rock or something [laughter]. My gym still has no Olympic weights [bumper plates] so I love it when I'm on a training camp where I can drop some weights.

Zylstra: What type of weather do you like to train in? or… Is there any weather you will not train in?
Hogan: I like to train in sunny weather, I'm used to it... [laughter] and a nice head wind is always good.

Zylstra: Where do you prefer to throw, in the stadium or outside the stadium?
Hogan: I like it inside a stadium, 'cause then you can see your real distance, no wind for anyone. Plus the crowd is always nice to have around for adrenaline levels. When there is no one watching it feels like training. I like it when there’s a lot of people around the discus cage. But I also like to be outside in the wind to throw further and to get a nice distance.

Zylstra: Who do you train with?
Hogan: Where I train there are no other athletes. No one, maybe the primary school teacher comes to greet me now and then. But it's not like other places I've been, where there's a throwing group, a sprinting group, long distance, jumps... etc. I train mostly alone, I find I focus better. If I go on a training camp it's either, Ryno van Winkel, or Orazio Cremona (shot putters).

Zylstra: What type(s) of medical treatment do you receive regularly?
Hogan: I get massage therapy twice a week , mostly for injuries.

Zylstra: How has your career played out so far?
Hogan: In the beginning I didn't really have a coach, we were learning a lot as we went on. I never knew what a 'clean' or a 'snatch' was. I used to do bicep curls the day before just to have a pump on my 19cm biceps [laughter]. In 2007, Kaai Preller (also Frantz Kruger coach) coach contacted me to go to Bloemfontein and train there. He basically took me from 57m to 65m with the 1,75kg in a year. In 2008 (my junior year) I threw 65,52m (214' 11") with the 1,75kg and 59,21m (194' 3") with the 2kg. 2009 brought on a stress fracture in my L5 in my back so that season was low key. I did 58m (190') and took bronze at the 2010 African Championships and qualified for the Continental Cup, because of two Egyptians, they could only took Omar El Ghazaly... so my 1st time throwing against the big guys. I threw horribly and finished 8th with a 54m (177').

  • 2008: 59,21m (194' 3")

  • 2009: injured

  • 2010: 2011: 62,60m (205' 4")

  • 2012: 62.76m (205' 11), which was bad for me, training whole year for 16cm [laughter]

  • 2013: 65,33m (214' 4")

Zylstra: What was your best throw?
Hogan: My 65.33 was thrown in Donnas, Italy; but I think my 64.35 in Moscow, without wind, was a much better throw. I never throw far in training.

Zylstra: Worst competition?
Hogan: Well, in Moscow in the qualifying round I missed my 1st throw – waiting for the gun to go off for the sprinters, so the one minute time limit ran out, that was quite bad!!

Zylstra: Yikes.
Hogan: Then my 1st and only Diamond League meet – in Sweden, I had 3 no throws.

Zylstra: Are you satisfied with your training in 2013?
Hogan: I am very satisfied 'cause it end up well. I only started training at end of February 'cause of a knee and back injury. I thought the 2013 season would be a write off. I had one month to train for SA Nationals and I won with a 61,82m (202' 10"). From then on I was able to train hard. I went to camp in Gemona, Italy and trained well and decided I’m gonna GO out with no excuses and do my part. God will do His part.

Zylstra: Who's your current coach?
Hogan: Kaai Preller.
Zylstra: What were your max strength levels last summer?
Hogan: When I was throwing 65,33m I was maxing 140kg in the bench, squat 170kg, hang clean 140 and hang snatch 100kg.

Zylstra: How do you handle nutrition?
Hogan: Well, I eat about 5-6 meals a day, try to get in some veggies and fruit. I also take a multi vitamin, 'cause nutrition is very important, I can feel when I eat bad, that my energy level are gone.

Zylstra: Do you track distances thrown in training?
Hogan: I had one throw about three years back..nearly did 65m, and never could come close to that in competition until 2013. I normally just put out a marker on maybe 60 meters and try and get over it.

Hogan in Luzhniki stadium
Hogan in Luzhniki stadium

Zylstra: You mentioned you felt a bit off the night before the competition... can you talk about that?
Hogan: Yeah, in our hotel rooms the air conditioning was on whole night, so that night before the qualifying rounds I think I slept, maybe for an hour or two, because of the stress and adrenaline. So that morning I felt tired and my throat was a bit scratching, But it was the least of my worries [laughter]. Now the next night I slept like a sloth; but when I woke up, my voice was nearly gone. Right there I said, "NO this will not be my excuse for failure today." As long as you have an excuse, you have an reason to fail, so I just kept warm during the whole competition and I was blessed to get my first throw in and it was good enough for 5th place. I told the BBC I didn't wanna say anything [post-competition] 'cause I got sick during the night and my voice almost went away.

Zylstra: What goals have you set for 2014?
Hogan: Its hard for me to answer, 'cause I don’t like telling people what I'm gonna go and do; I'm gonna go and show you what I’m gonna do. I think goals are personal info – vision is what keeps me motivated and disciplined.

Zylstra: Who do you think will win medals at this summer's Commonwealth Games?
Hogan: I don’t wanna say who's gonna win or loose, all I know is there's some goooood competition. I think there’s about six guys who can win the gold.

Zylstra: Speaking of support, what's Vicky Hogan all about?
Hogan: [Laughter] I love training and I love throwing, the discus is my passion. But I love Jesus more than everything. I love my local church. I'm a born again Christian and a member of the Christian Revival Church. I'm unashamed of the gospel, 'cause the Bible says its the power onto salvation. After going to the Olympics, the World Championships, still the best day of my life is when I gave my heart to Jesus, so that He can use me. Winning an Olympic gold medal might challenge it, that but it could never fill that void meant for a Jesus. In Christ I'm complete and He changed me. I realized I've found something... this is not a weak God, this is a mighty God- King of Kings - the Lion of Zion, the only God, and His Name is Jesus.

I know my life has a purpose... I mean if God can use a rock to pour out wine and a stick to split the [Red] Sea... imagine what He can do with your life. The Bible says, 'I can change a Nation!' If you can zoom in on my throwing shoe, there's a little cross and a verse, Joshua 1:3-9... Every place the sole of your foot tread upon I have given you! No man shall be able to stand before you. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. And that's the promise of God, He says in Matthew 6:33... Seek 1st my Kingdom, and my righteousness, and ill move things, ill shift things, ill add things to your life. ... and I found myself 5th in Moscow!

Vic' will answer your questions in the social.throwholics thread.

Career results: 2012 African Championships | Benin
1st 61,80m (202' 9") Victor Hogan Flag_of_South_Africa.svg
2nd 59,61m (195' 7") Yasser Ibrahim Farag 35px-Flag_of_Egypt.svg
3rd 57,99m (190' 3") Russel Tucker Flag_of_South_Africa.svg

more to come....