Linkul eyes 2008 Summer Games
SPARKS – Robert Linkul’s winning distance of 184 feet, 8 inches in the hammer throw during the recent Nevada Throwers Club’s all-comers meet at Reed High School was pretty respectable.
There was just one little detail that made his throw a lot more special – he did it with an 18-pound ball, not the regulation 16-pounder.
“I had consistent throws around 185 feet and my best is 189, so I was happy about that,” said Linkul, a 1999 Whittell High School graduate who now calls Carson City as home. “It was a good workout.”
To put the mark into perspective – and to show how far he has come as a thrower – the 184-8 throw would have been close to a personal record two years ago when he was still a junior at Sacramento State University.
“I usually figure about eight feet per pound, so that was probably equal to 210 feet,” Linkul said.
That’s even better than his lifetime competitive best in the hammer throw, a mark of 207-10 at the Big Sky Conference Championships. The Sacramento State senior also threw 204-6 to place second at the West Regional and earn a qualifying berth in the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.
Linkul has come a long way in the last couple of years and the future only seems to be getting better. The coming year will be one of change after exhausting his college eligibility, however, because he will compete as a post-graduate athlete. Also, he and one-time Sacramento State distance runner Amy Dawson are working on their wedding plans.
“We’re going to get married in September, either at Lake Tahoe or Redding, which is where she’s from,” Linkul said.
“This next year is going to be busy,” added Linkul, who now works at the Arden Hills Country Club health club in Sacramento. “The wedding, then you have school during the day, work at night, and of course, there’s training.”
Linkul fell short of making the cut for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento this year, but he plans to continue competing for the Nevada Throwers Club and he has some big plans down the road. If all goes well, he wants to be at the 2008 Olympic Trials – and at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
“My mom and dad (Tina and Richard Linkul of Carson City) are buying tickets,” he said with a smile. “It’s a long way to go, but I figure we can get there.”
And the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Linkul says the prime years for a hammer thrower are still ahead of him.
“I’m hoping to get in another 15, 20 years,” he said. “It’s not easy (being a postgraduate athlete). I’m trying to line up some sponsors; I’ve already got a chiropractor who’s going to work with me and I’m trying to get help with nutritional supplements, equipment, travel and stuff like that.”
Linkul was a three-time zone champion and a state runner-up in the discus at Whittell, then went on to throw at Mesa (Ariz.) and American River College (Sacramento). He first began to throw the hammer at Mesa.
“It just kind of happened,” he said. “When I got to Mesa, my coach told me, ‘You’re not built to be a discus thrower. I’m going to make you a hammer guy.’ I threw the discus ever since I was in fifth grade and now the tables are kind of turned.
“I love it. The build-up of the momentum and everything. Sometimes you eat it pretty hard, but it’s fun and now I’ve moved on to the hammer.”
“I had no idea what the hammer was until I got into college,” Linkul said. “So, to be able to pick it up and have some small amount of success, it’s a lot of fun.”
– Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call (775) 881-1220.
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