- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 24, 2008

Few athletes have been on top of their game as long as Adam Nelson.

At today’s USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston, Nelson goes for his third USA Indoor title in the shot put since 2001.

The two-time Olympic silver medalist is having a great season, setting indoor personal bests, including the No. 3 throw of all time. He is the current world leader.

It started with a big winning throw of 72 feet, 5 inches at the Millrose Games in New York on earlier this month. Then he edged closer to the indoor world and U.S. record with another personal-best throw of 73-6 two weeks later at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

Randy Barnes owns that gold standard, the indoor world record of 74-13/4 set on Jan. 20, 1989, in Los Angeles.

Nelson has done it all while working on his MBA at the University of Virginia.

This season is sort of a career revival for Nelson, who is throwing like he did in 2002 when he notched his outdoor best of 73-101/4.

One of the driving forces behind his resurgence is competition from other top shot putters — reigning world indoor and outdoor champion Reese Hoffa and 2004 world indoor champion Christian Cantwell.

The three of them have injected some excitement into an otherwise fairly boring event.

At 32, Nelson is the oldest of the trio, but he has been throwing at an elite level since the Olympic trials in 1996, a year before he graduated from Dartmouth.

At 6-foot, 255 pounds, Nelson is also the smallest of the three shot putters. Cantwell is 6-5 and at least 340 pounds, and Hoffa is 5-11 and at least 300 pounds.

But Nelson’s personality is big. He is a Chris Farley-looking blonde guy who stomps around the shot put area, yelling and ripping off his shirt before throwing.

“I’ve always walked into the landing area and then gone into the ring,” he told USA Track & Field. “It’s all part of visualization. Everybody has their own little routine to get mentally focused for each throw.

“Sure, it draws the attention of the crowd. The fans can see who we are out there. But the main reason I do it is more personal than that. It’s part of my preparation phase.”

What he lacks in ballast he makes up for in speed, precision timing and consistency.

Among American track athletes in any event, only Nelson has medaled at every world and Olympic competition since 2000.

If he can stay healthy, Nelson could lock up another Track & Field News No. 1 world ranking, to go along with his in 2000, 2002 and 2005, and possibly his first Olympic gold.

MCRRC receives race — The Montgomery County Road Runners Club was awarded next year’s USA Cross Country Championships last weekend at the 2008 championships in San Diego.

The February event will be at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood, Md.

Marathon men — The lottery for the New York City Marathon 2008 opens at noon tomorrow with applications available online at www.ingnycmarathon.org.

The 39th running of the marathon will be Nov. 2.

Awesome in Austin — Oakton’s Jacob Frey, a member of the U.S. team, won the first International Marathon Challenge at the Austin Marathon on Sunday.

He took the lead for good in the last 365 yards, finishing in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 38 seconds.

In the accompanying half-marathon, Olympic marathon trials qualifier Desiree Ficker, a native of Potomac, Md., won in 1:18:17.


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