Cowley College alum Damien Odle has qualified in the javelin for the 2016 Olympic trials, which will be next week in Eugene, Ore.
“I’m super excited. I fly out (June 30),” he said in an interview June 29.
Odle said his personal best is 73.36 meters. To qualify for the Olympics, he will have to throw the spear 77 meters.
“That’s a big gap, but you never know — it could happen,” he said. “This is the highlight of my career, definitely probably one of the highlights of my life.”
If he isn’t able to qualify this year, Odle has hopes of making it onto the 2020 team.
He said he sees this opportunity as a great stepping-stone for his career.
Odle grew up in Greensburg, where he met EMS Director Jeri Smith, of the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department.
“I watched this young man grow up. He was a basketball player. He’s really a great kid and such a humble young man,” Smith said.
Odle started throwing the javelin in his senior year of high school.
He tried it because the coach asked him to, but after several wins and winning State, he decided he could make a go of the sport.
Currently, Odle is attending Wichita State University — with plans to major in sports management — and is ranked 18th in the nation in the men’s division.
He also has been chosen to participate on Team USA track and field in El Salvador for the 2016 NACAC Under 23 Championships.
“Extremely blessed and proud to say that today I found out I qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials and will be flying back out to Eugene Oregon next week to compete for a spot on the USA Olympic team,” he posted June 20 on Facebook.
“I also got invited by Team USA T&F to represent USA down in El Salvador for the 2016 NACAC U23 Championships on July 15-17.”
His parents have been very supportive of his endeavors. Odle claims they are his biggest fans.
Odle attended Cowley College from 2013 to 2015 on a track and field scholarship.
While he was at Cowley, he was a national qualifier in 2014 and a national champion in 2015.