National record is great but Shadae Lawrence has eyes only for Olympic finals

By May 26, 2021

Shadae Lawrence’s second-place finish in the discus at the USATF Throws Fest in Arizona on Saturday was the second time she had lost in competition this season but it was perhaps her most significant achievement.

It took a world-leading throw of 70.22m from Dutchwoman Jorinde van Klinken to defeat the 25-year-old Jamaican, who achieved an important milestone of her own. Her fourth throw of 65.47m and fifth of 67.05m meant that she broke her own national record of 65.05 twice, and even more important, it was an indication that she was getting closer to her ultimate goal for this season.

“I was very happy to see those numbers. I really wanted to perform well at that meet. I was happy I could put it together and get the job done. I want to make my personal dream of being an Olympic finalist come true,” she said, explaining that the records, at this point in time, mean little by comparison.

“My only goal for the season is to make top 8 at the Olympics. I know this a great achievement (the national record) and I’m thankful but this wasn’t a goal of mine.”

The simple fact is that for Lawrence and her coach Julian Robinson the new milestone was not surprising but the immediate future is more about achieving the aforementioned goal and that for that to be accomplished, there is much work still left to be done. Robinson is under no illusions. He knows what needs to get done.

 “No, it wasn’t a surprise. Physically, I think she has the ability to produce those distances. However, she lacks the consistency and this is so for several reasons; her technique is not yet stable and she needs more exposure competing at the elite level or close to that,” he said.

Lawrence started the season with a win at the USF Bulls Invitational in Florida on March 20, throwing 63.75m, which surpassed the Olympic qualifying standard of 63.50m. She followed up with another win at the Florida State Relays on March 26 when she threw 62.88m.

After that, her performances dipped even though she kept winning. Throws of 57.76m and 57.86m resulted in victories at the USATF Sprint Summit on April 3 and at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational, on April 16.

Two weeks later, she was second at the North Florida Invitational where she threw 58.66m before her big throws in Tucson last weekend.

The performances represented were the low-hanging fruit that she has been able to reach since she began working with Robinson in late 2019 with bigger goals in mind.

“I train really hard. My biggest aim for this season, physically, was to get stronger,” she said. “The past few years throwing, I wasn’t strong and I was throwing decent. I knew if I could get my strength to a certain level, I could be more consistent. So every time I get into the gym I’m pushing myself.”

She believes that she can get even stronger and be a lot more consistent with throws well above 60m in the weeks she has left before the Olympic Games this summer.

“If I consistently push myself I will get stronger. I already have that mentality so once I’m healthy I will be in the best shape physically for the Games,” she explained.

“I think to be able to throw consistently you must attack your training that way. For me, I just need to train consistently. Be consistent with my gym, plyometric work, working on technical aspects of the throw. That’s how consistency comes about.”

With that goal met, she fancies the possibility of springing a surprise in Tokyo; just like she did on Saturday, produce a throw that she never has managed to deliver before but one that could produce a record that will be more meaningful.

 “If I execute the way I’m preparing to physically and mentally then anything can happen,” she said.

“The Olympic Games isn’t a walkover, no major championship is. My aim is to fearlessly execute all my throws. Before the beginning of the season, my aim was the Olympics. I told myself it doesn’t matter how I compete throughout the season; I need to get it done starting July 31st.”

July 31 is the day of the qualifying round of the women’s discus.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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