Sat | Jan 20, 2018

It was crazy - Levy - Hammer thrower recounts historic qualification

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Shot putter O'Dayne Richards with hammer thrower Daina Levy in Rio.
Levy competing in the women's hammer throw at the National Trials on Saturday, July 2, 2016.

"It was crazy. I started screaming, hitting things, throwing things, I did everything. I had never reacted like that before."

Daina Levy recounts her reaction to becoming the first Jamaican man or woman to qualify for the Olympic Games in the hammer throw event.

Levy, born in Canada, landed the implement 71.48 metres on her last throw, at her last meet, to achieve her dream of competing in Rio.

She had earlier bettered her old national record (69.01m) and teased the 71.00m automatic Olympic qualifying mark with a 70.12m effort.

"I was ready. I felt it. I knew it was going to be the throw," she said of the effort, which also replaced her own old national record.




Levy continued: "I had no doubts. I knew that was going to be it. I was a lot calmer than I was at the previous meetings and before previous throws. I wasn't thinking too much or thinking about anything really. Technically, I was working on some things and it was on, everything came together for that throw."

Even now that she's at the Olympics, Levy admits fully coming to terms with her qualification.

"Being here, it's still surreal to me. I thought that the Opening Ceremony would help it to sink in a little bit more and I was emotional yes, but it still hasn't sunk in. Maybe when I start competing, I will feel some type of way, but right now it's just joy," Levy said.

"I knew that I had a shot, but I really had to get over the mental aspect. At the beginning of the season, I wanted it so bad and I was trying so hard that I didn't even realise I was doing things to jeopardise my chances. Sometimes, when you want something that badly, you tend to do too much to try and get it," she expressed. "But once I calmed down towards the end of the season, I knew I had a real chance to qualify for the Olympics.

"Now, the goal is to make the final and doing things that I haven't yet done, but for now I'm just thinking to go out there and compete, have fun and enjoy the experience. I don't want to miss anything," Levy added.

She will compete on Friday's opening day of athletics.