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26 June 2015 | in Universiade 2015, NUSF News, Summer Universiade, Athletics

Javelin Thrower narrowly qualifies for Gwangju after Nightmare



KAMLOOPS - “I thought I was having a Nightmare”, Canadian javelin thrower Andy White recalls on his experience the night before narrowly qualifying for the Universiade. White was sleeping in the back of his Ford Explorer parked in an isolated university parking lot the night before his final shot at making the Canadian Universiade team. He had arrived at midnight and went for a jog, “it seemed like a really quiet, safe area.”

White had driven 800 kilometers that day from a track and field meet in Lethbridge, Alberta to Kamloops, British Columbia for a last-minute track meet. Poor weather conditions at the Lethbridge meet proved problematic for White and the Kamloops meet was his last chance to qualify.

“I felt like I didn’t have a fighting chance because of the weather. In the morning it seemed like it might hold off, it was sprinkling a little bit. I went to the track with Curtis Moss (Olympic javelin thrower) and then it started to pour. Just absolutely pouring, people’s umbrellas were turning inside out. It was not ideal conditions.” 

After speaking with Moss, White made a last-minute decision to drive to Kamloops for a track meet that was happening the next day. “Mentally and physically exhausted,” after driving nearly eight hours, White decided to sleep in his car overnight.

In the early hours of May 17, 2015 footsteps approached the vehicle White was sleeping in. White awoke to someone hitting the windows of the Explorer. He tried speaking with the man. The situation escalated quickly. The man started punching and kicking the Explorer yelling for White to come out.

There are some things insurance doesn’t account for. A crazed man wielding a log is one of them. At this point the man had picked up a log and smashed the window. The stranger reached through the shattered window to grab White who wriggled away from him. White called the police who arrived within minutes and arrested the man.

La voiture d'Andy après l'incident

“The car was actually going to be a write-off because of the damage so we opted to have it fixed instead.”

It turns out the log wielding man was a soccer coach that was in town for a tournament. What he was doing in the parking lot in the wee hours of the day is unclear.

With just five hours of sleep White headed to the Kamloops Centennial track and field meet for his last chance at making the Canadian team. He needed a throw of 70 meters or more and he got it. His first throw was 71.14 meters. It was a relief. This was only the second time White had thrown over this standard.

Since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, White knew he wanted to do javelin. His parent’s both former athletes (his dad a competitive sailor and his mother a Pan-American Cup cross-country runner) wanted to travel as a family while they had the time. White’s mother passed away in 2010 from breast cancer.

“If she had waited to go travelling we never would have. She was just the neatest person in that way. We really got to have a lifetime of adventure and I just miss her because of all the fun times that we had… she gave me an amazing gift.”

It was at the Sydney Olympic Games in attendance for the men’s javelin final that inspired White to want to do javelin.

“We were there for the men’s javelin final and I could hear the guys yelling, and putting everything into it. That moment always resonated with me. That’s when I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

For his professional development White has travelled to Finland often referred to as the “centre of the world for javelin,” and trained with coaches there. “The coaches have lots of knowledge, it was a pretty exciting time to get to go there and learn from these coaches.”

 Always prepared, White has already begun planning what it will take to launch him into the finals.

 “I think it’s really going to take a new personal best to get me into the finals. My personal best is 72.35 meters looking for another two to three meters.”


Megan McPhadden (CAN), FISU Young Reporter