“To go out on top — there are so few athletes that can say that, and that really wasn’t my plan! I just wanted to know when it would be over so that I could put everything that I had into each throw.”
Kara Winger had long planned for 2022 to be her final javelin season. And what a final season it was! The four-time Olympian capped off her 18-year international career by winning her first global medal (silver, at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, OR), and becoming the first U.S. woman to medal in the javelin at a world championships event. She set a new American record. She took the win at the Wanda Diamond League final. And, after 12 years, she finally broke her own personal record. In this conversation, Kara reflects on her career and on what it means to go out on top. She talks about the support she has felt in the track and field community, and about when she made the decision to retire. She talks about being chosen to be the Team USA flag bearer at last summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, and talks about the struggles she’s faced with injuries (two ACL tears and a labrum tear in her left shoulder) and setbacks. Now, the Tracksmith-sponsored athlete will begin the next chapter of her career as the senior director for Parity, an organization dedicated to closing the gender pay gap in sports.
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What you’ll get on this episode:
- What Kara says to everyone who wants her to keep competing (5:00)
- When and why Kara decided to retire, and what her mentality was like heading into her final season (6:50)
- The first thing Kara pictures when she thinks about her final season of competition (13:20)
- Is it possible to get into a flow state when throwing? (18:35)
- What Kara’s childhood was like, and how she found the javelin (20:40)
- How Kara actually learned how to throw a javelin (27:00)
- What it was like becoming an Olympian while still in college (29:15)
- What life was like at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA (32:45)
- What Kara’s training is like lately (38:15)
- Kara’s decision to get her MBA (41:45)
- How Kara became the flag bearer for Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics (45:20)
- The support Kara has felt from her community this year (54:00)
- What Kara wishes people understood about throwing, field events, and the javelin specifically (59:00)
- Any chance Kara will compete at World Championships in Budapest next year? (1:03:00)
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