Florence’s Curtis Thompson, denied an Olympic berth in the javelin because of some archaic and ill-conceived regulations, traveled far south of the U.S. nonetheless and made it a successful trip.
Thompson, second in the U.S. Olympic Trials, won the javelin at the NACAC Under-23 Championships this weekend in El Salvador. He threw 260-1, winning by exactly a foot over second-place David Carreon of Mexico, who threw 250-1.
Thompson, the NCAA champion for Mississippi State, fell four feet shy of the meet record of 264-1, set in Santo Domingo in 2006 by American Chris Hill.
Thompson had the three best throws of the competition, and his winning throw of 260-1 is the third-best throw of his life.
He opened with a 238-3 but followed with throws of 260-1, 253-11, foul, 241-10 and 252-10.
Thompson’s 271-11 at the Olympic Trials is No. 33 in the world this year and No. 17 in U.S. history.
Yet he won’t represent the U.S. at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because he fell five inches shy of the IAAF’s Olympic qualifying standard of 272-4.
This was actually the most consistent series of Thompson’s career. He’s never previously had three throws over 250 feet in the same meet. He actually posted three of his top-seven career throws at Estadio Nacional Jorge “El Magic” Gonzalez in San Salvador on Saturday.
Let’s look at Thompson’s top 10 career throws so far:
271-11 … U.S. Olympic Trials, Eugene, Ore., July 4, 2016
265-10 … Florida State Relays, Tallahassee, Fla., March 25, 2016
260- 1 … NACAC U23, San Salvadore, July 16, 2016
254- 9 … NCAAs, Eugene, Ore., June 10, 2016
253-11 … NACAC U23, San Salvadore, July 16, 2016
253- 1 … U.S. Olympic Trials, Eugene, July 4, 2016
252-10 … NACAC U23, San Salvadore, July 16, 2016
251- 7 … Mississippi State Invite, Starkville, Miss., April 30, 2016
249-10 … U.S. Olympic Trials semis, Eugene, July 3, 2016
249- 0 … Florida Relays, Gainesville, March 31, 2016
The NACAC is the North America, Central America and Caribbean Track and Field Coaches Association, and this week’s meet is the championships for athletes from those areas who are under 23 years old.