Olympic hopeful Liz Podominick remains ‘God-focused’

| Jennifer Janikula | November 20, 2013 | 0 Comments
Aspiring Olympian Liz Podominick, second from right, visits with Carly Wohlers, Grace Maloney, Maddie Bares and Madison Keppel during a recent visit to her alma mater,  All Saints School in Lakeville. Photo submitted

Aspiring Olympian Liz Podominick, second from right, visits with Carly Wohlers, Grace Maloney, Maddie Bares and Madison Keppel during a recent visit to her alma mater, All Saints School in Lakeville. Photo submitted

Liz Podominick spends every day getting stronger, faster, more agile and more graceful.

She hopes her efforts will help her launch a 2.2 pound, salad-plate-sized disc far enough to land her in Rio De Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

With more than 10 years of experience, Podominick, who attended All Saints School in Lakeville, can’t even guess how many times she has thrown the discus.

In addition to several hours of weight training, speed work and agility drills, Podominick spends two to three hours a day throwing. She breaks down each step of the throw, refining rhythm, balance and feeling. The repetition is a key factor in her success.

“Throwing is very technical.” Podominick said. “In competition, when I enter the circle, I try to clear my mind and trust my body to take over. The practice and repetition pays off just like praying in your spiritual life.”

God Moments

Mac Wilkens, 1976 Olympic discus champion and Podominick’s coach, understands the frequent frustration, and rare but brilliant blessings of repetition.

“He reminds me that I will feel like I am banging my head against the wall for days, weeks or even months,” Podominick explained. “Then there will be what he calls a ‘God moment’, where everything just clicks. Those aha moments — God moments — are very addicting and keep you going.”

After several months of training, Wilkens and Podominick shared a God moment.

“He always tells me about the rhythm and the feeling of a throw,” Podominick recalled. “I didn’t really understand until one day it just happened. I felt it. They were just flying. He could see it and it brought tears to his eyes.”

Then Podominick laughed and said, “Of course it goes away though, and you have to wait for it to come back.”

Podominick’s spiritual life provides a foundation for her discipline and perseverance. She believes throwing discus is part of God’s plan for her, but admits this path was unexpected. “God has an ultimate plan you can’t always understand or predict,” she said. “Regardless of what you do, you can honor God.”

She’s ready

In August, Podominick made her international debut as a member of Team USA at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia. She wasn’t nervous when she walked into the stadium — she felt a sense of peace.

“I felt ready to compete at this level,” she said. “God wouldn’t have put me there if that wasn’t where he wanted me to be.”

Her 10th place finish in her qualifying group wasn’t enough to advance to the finals at World’s, but Podominick values the international experience.

“I didn’t perform as well as I wanted, but I learned lessons that will serve me well in the future. I learned about the logistics — how to check in, when to start my warmup, and what kind of distractions are present.”

Her experience at World’s also helped Podominick secure a spot at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. The benefits of residency at the Olympic Training Center include housing and meals as well as access to world class facilities and experts in nutrition and sports medicine.

For the first time in her career, Podominick will be able to focus on training full-time. “I never know how it’s going to work out, but God seems to provide,” she said. “I take it year by year — if I stay focused on the process, the results will come.”

Supporters can monitor Podominick’s road to the Olympics by following her on Twitter or by visiting USA Track and Field’s website.

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