Sports

Kara Patterson Ranks Sixth In The World

According to Track & Field News, Vancouver’s Kara Patterson finished 2010 ranked sixth in the world in women’s javelin.

The criteria: “Under our system, athletes are judged on three weighted criteria. The all-encompassing factors, in order of importance: Honors Won, Win-Loss Record, Sequence Of Marks.”

Patterson’s best mark in 2010 — an American record of 218 feet, 9 inches — also placed her sixth in the world. In 2008, Patterson’s best mark ranked her 23rd in the world, and in 2009 her best placed her eighth, so she’s moving in the right direction.

But she’s more concerned with being consistent than she is with uncorking one big throw. Which made last summer so special — she not only set the American record, but she recorded the three best marks in U.S. history.

Patterson trains and lives at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., near San Diego. But I had a chance to meet up with her when she had some time at home a while back. Some of her thoughts:

On setting the American record while winning her third straight national title:
“I always want to win USA; it’s best not to leave anything to chance. I felt so physically awesome that day that there was no excuse not to throw well.”

On returning to training in preparation for the 2011 season:
“I’m really excited about this year at the Training Center because I’m not the new kid anymore.”

At international track and field meets, winners are presented with a bouquet of flowers. Here’s why they throw them into the stands:
“You don’t have a vase. I gave my mom my flowers (after winning the Prefontaine meet in Eugene).”

On her goals for this year, a season that includes the World Championships starting in late August in Daegu, South Korea:
“I definitely want to medal at the World Championships. I’ve always had, I don’t know, some would call them unrealistic goals. Last year, I wanted to break the American record by 2 meters.”