Shot putter Armstrong has strong arm

DAVE FULLER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

When you can toss a 16-pound metal ball 20 metres in your sleep and your Canadian opponents can’t hit 18 in their wildest dreams, what’s Dylan Armstrong to do?

Not much except work on his technique for his next world Diamond League event, which happens to be next weekend in Stockholm.

Armstrong, 29 and from Kamloops, B.C., fouled on four of his six throws at the Canadian track and field championships, but still won the men’s shot put by nearly three metres over Andrew Smith of Saskatoon — 20.55 metres to 17.75.

And while most of his competitors gathered with friends and families after the event, Armstrong marched across the field to the practice pit for another major workout.

Then he went out for a steak.

Armstrong, who missed out on a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by a single centimetre — settling for fourth in a sport he was born to master — is a 6-foot-4, 309-pound fireplug full of fun and determination.

He was a two-way football lineman in high school, and received scholarship offers from at least a dozen NCAA Division 1 schools.

But he had seen what pro football could do to a man, injury-wise, and, while it may have been a more lucrative path, he earns enough on the track circuit that he doesn’t have to punch a shift card.

“I’m not in it for the money,” Armstrong said.

On the other hand, he figures an Olympic gold-medallist, with the right sponsors and the right track schedule, could earn $400,000 a year.

He’s not there yet, still stalking the the world’s top two or three. But, so far this year, he’s out-thrown everyone but Beijing silver-medallist Christian Cantwell of the U.S.

Armtrong has thrown a personal best 21.58 this year, naturally a Canadian record. His next goal is 22 metres, sometime this year.

“I was a little sore today because I’m preparing for Stockholm,” he said.

“It’s hard to get pumped up (when the competition isn’t squeezing him). But I encourage the guys, offer advice and I think it helps.”

Meanwhile, Sam Effah of the University of Calgary Athletics won the men’s 100 metres in 10.2 second. Toronto’s Toyin Olupona of Elite Edge won the women’s 100 metres in 11.46.


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