Thoughts of London on his mind

Armstrong preparing for Olympic appearance

GREGG DRINNAN / Kamloops Daily News
January 28, 2012 01:00 AM

Dylan Armstrong knows where he will be on Aug. 3.

He has plans for Aug. 4, too.

Armstrong, the world's No. 1-ranked men's shot putter, ahead of Americans Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa and Ryan Whiting, is in Scottsdale, Ariz., preparing for the start of another season.

This one is different, though, as it is an Olympic year.

That means Armstrong will spend part of the summer in London, England, site of the Summer Games, July 27 through Aug. 12. The men's shot put competition is scheduled for Aug. 3 - qualifying in the morning, final at night - with the medal ceremony the following evening.

"It's going well. I've been going hard. I really haven't taken a break since last season," Armstrong said Friday from Scottsdale. "I'm definitely excited for this year. I just have to keep pressing along."

While he hasn't yet confirmed much of his schedule, he is likely to start the competitive portion of his schedule at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, March 9-11. He also confirmed that he will compete at the 85th Kansas Relays, April 18-21, which holds its shot put competition in downtown Lawrence, and the Donovan Bailey Invitational in Edmonton on June 16. He is intrigued by the Edmonton meet as organizers are scheduling the shot put for downtown.

The first Diamond League meet that includes men's shot put is in Shanghai, May 19.

Armstrong said he is "slowly confirming the odd meet. I have meets that I want to attend but that might change, too. It's early. Right now, we're just sticking to the training."

Before heading to London, he would like to have competed in "11 or 12 meets," including some in the Samsung Diamond League.

"They're both important," he said of training versus competition, "because you need to use competition to really focus on technique and really find your groove and to get sharper throughout the season."

Armstrong, who turned 31 on Jan. 15, is coming off a season for the ages. He won Canada's only medal, a silver, at the World championships in Daegu, South Korea. That was the first throws medal of any colour for a Canadian at a World athletics championship.

He also won the Diamond League championship. And his Canadian record throw of 22.21 metres in Calgary in June was the longest in the world in 2011.

And he won the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, setting a Games record in the process.

In December, Athletics Canada named him its athlete of the year and its outstanding athlete in field events, and also honoured him for the year's most outstanding performance, that being the silver medal at Worlds.

We could go on, but by now you get the gist - he had a pretty good year, one that would be bettered only by an Olympic medal.

Armstrong will stay in Scottsdale - he trains at Paradise Valley Community College - until moving to San Diego in April.

"The weather is the most important thing," he explained, adding that his coach from the National Throws Centre in Kamloops, Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk, flies into Scottsdale on occasion.

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