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Ian Waltz
Waltz throws for Olympic spot today

Waltz throws for Olympic spot today

Posted: Saturday, Jul 05, 2008 - 11:16:15 pm PDT

Sports writer

Former Post Falls and Washington State star 'took it easy' in Thursday's prelims

He took one throw at 60 percent to get there, but if Ian Waltz wants to represent America's interests on Chinese soil later this summer, he's going to have to turn loose the dogs in today's discus finals at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

The former Post Falls High School and Washington State University star suffered a groin strain in training last week, so he was cautious throwing in the cooler temperatures at 10 p.m. in Thursday's preliminaries.

He won't have that luxury today -- it is going to have to be full throttle to finish in the top three and qualify for the Beijing Games.

"I've been receiving treatment all week and it's responded. In prelims, I just wanted to take it easy and get a throw out there to qualify. I think I can go over 215 (feet) today," said Waltz, whose best throw this year was a 226. "In past Olympics, anything from 213 to 217 has medaled, so I should be right there."

Waltz, whose parents Ron and Sue live near Rathdrum, marked at 204 feet, 3 inches in the prelims and goes in as the third-best qualifier behind training mate and former Boise State standout Jared Rome (206-10) and Matt Lamb (204-3).

"He followed his plan and executed it very well," said Olympic Training Center throws coach Bud Rasmussen, who is also a former North Idaho College throws coach.

"(Today) is going to be very big and we're excited for that. He looked good, even with dealing with the injury."

Waltz said his leg will be a non-issue in his bid to make his second U.S. Olympic team.

But what will be an issue is the magic of Hayward Field and the track and field fans in Eugene.

"There was 20,000 people in the stands, even at 10 o'clock, Thursday night. They're knowledgeable, they're extremely loud," Waltz said. "Being from the Northwest, a lot of my friends and family have come down to the meet.

"It's an amazing atmosphere. I wish it was here every year. They call it Track Town USA for a reason and everyone loves to compete here."

Today's finals include William Conwell (Club Northwest), Doug Reynolds (unattached), Rashaud Scott (Kentucky), Adam Kuehl (Nike), Jason Young (unattached), John Godina (adidas), James Dennis (unattached), Michael Robertson (Nike), Casey Malone (Nike), Rome (Nike), Lamb (unattached) and Waltz (Nike).

Waltz's training has been on target and his season has led him to this moment. Now it's a matter of execution and on to Beijing.

"It's been a great year. My plan was to peak a lot later (because it's an Olympic year). I think I tweaked my groin a little bit because I laid off the weights," Waltz said. "Two or three weeks out from the big event, you lay off the weights so your body can get fast and explosive and then you focus on your technique and everything comes together at the same point.

"I'm in really good shape. Technically I'm good, so I'm pretty confident going into the final and August for the Olympics."