Cantwell and the Samsung Diamond League

Posted in: News & Notes
By Phil Minshull
Aug 26, 2010 - 6:15:29 PM

Cantwell: ‘I give myself at least a 50 per cent chance of throwing 22 metres here’ - Samsung Diamond League

Christian Cantwell
26 August 2010 - Brussels, Belgium – Christian Cantwell has dominated the Shot Put this year and short of getting lost on the way to the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme - Samsung Diamond League meeting, which takes place on Friday (27), he is assured of winning the Diamond Race in his event.

With 21 points to his name and a healthy 15 point advantage over his nearest rival, his name is as good as on the cheque for $40,000 but he is still looking to light some fireworks from the circle before the other annual  display at the end of the meeting in the King Baudouin Stadium.

Back over 22 metres

Cantwell has had three competitions over the super-elite standard of 22 metres this season, topped by the 22.41m he threw at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Eugene in July.

“I may have the Diamond Race sewn up but it’s very important to me that I throw well. I threw 21.91m in Dubnica (in Slovakia) last Sunday and I feel like I’m on the upswing after that,” said Cantwell.

“I thought I was going to throw 22 metres in Dubnica, I threw 22 metres late in the season last year ( at the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki) and I’m in better shape now than I was then so I hope the rain holds off. I give myself at least a 50 per cent chance of throwing 22 metres here.”

“I feel great even though it’s been a long season, I’ve had 21 meets so far this year but I’m a guy that likes to throw a lot. Sometimes I think to myself,  ‘do you need a break,’ but then a break for me is like a week so when we get to the middle of November, I’m sure I’ll be going, ‘damn I wish there was a competition.’”

However, Cantwell managed to stave off the boredom during the break in the international circuit while the European and African Championships were taking place, and returned home to Columbia, Missouri.

“I went home and I was working out, the way I approached the second half of this summer was that I was working towards next season. I was doing all the stuff that I might be doing in November and December, but I was just doing it now.”

“Instead of jamming everything together later in the year, I was just looking at it as a longer process and when you also have a kid and a family, your days go by pretty fast,” smiled Cantwell.

No more losses

Of those 21 meetings, which include the World Indoor Championships and all six of the Samsung Diamond League meetings in which his event has been contested, there has only been one occasion which has wiped the smile off his face in the Shot Put circle.

He sustained his only one loss this year at the Aviva London Grand Prix – Samsung Diamond League meeting two weeks ago and Cantwell is keen not to slip up again.  

“I had a bit of a foot injury, with a foot muscle, ahead of the London meeting two weeks ago and that lead to my defeat there. I shouldn’t have even gone and my wife (former international shot putter Terri Steer) tried to convince me not to go. Looking back I shouldn’t have gone but I looked upon it as practice for the Olympic Games or World Championships where you have no choice. I guess I can learn from it,” reflected the 2009 World Championships gold medallist.

He has also learnt to deal with one of the hardships of being a professional world-class athlete, being away from your family for months at a time.

“It was great to get home and see my family (at the end of July) because when you have a small child (his son Jackson is now just over two years old), everything changes day-to-day. He’s doing stuff now that he wasn’t doing when I was at home in July, that part is kinda hard.”

“But he knows how to use the Skype videochat, he’s already clued up about that sort of thing, but it’s only for 20 minutes a day. However, he also looks at my meets when I’m away on YouTube.”

Good genes

“The weird thing is that he likes to watch the videos of me throwing, I don’t. I almost never like to watch my own videos but, when I’m at home and on the computer, after two or three minutes I hear these little footsteps and he says ‘where do I find shot put.’

“He tells me which ones he wants to watch by the yell I do like, ‘I want to watch WRAAAAHHH’ and I know which video he is talking about. He loves watching them,” added Cantwell, with a wistful look in his eye.

“Jackson is a very large kid, so I think he’s going to be good at something, he’s very athletic, he can jump like a kangaroo. He’s genetically predisposed to being an athlete but he’s only 25 months old so I don’t know what he’s going to do in the future.”

“He loves watching sports and he sometimes comes out to the track, I’ve got a small shot made for him but he cheats, he throws it with both hands sometimes, but I’ll let him get away with it for another year or so,” laughed Cantwell.

Notwithstanding his wife, who competed under her maiden name for most of her career, there has been only one world class athlete with the surname of Cantwell in the last 25 years but just keep your eyes open because there maybe another coming along somewhere around 2030.

Phil Minshull for the Samsung Diamond League