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Odle ‘on the verge of fighting back’ after Olympic Trials, ACL injury

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One centimeter came between Damien Odle and the 2016 Olympic Trial finals.

One month before the trials, Odle, a redshirt senior javelin thrower at Wichita State, set a new personal record of 73.36 meters.

“Going into [the Olympic Trials] you think about what the possibilities are and the outcomes. You’re like ‘Okay, I’m a junior in college competing against people that have already been in their first, second or third Olympic rounds,’” Odle said.

“So you don’t think you’re going to do very good, or you’re going to get dominated, but you’re still there for the experience. I turned out to do pretty well.”

In the Olympic Trials, the top eight throwers advance to the final round. Odle was number eight until the last thrower in the last heat went and threw just one centimeter further than him.

“That was a blow to the gut, knowing you lost by a centimeter,” Odle said. “Being out there and competing against legit Olympians and past Olympians is kind of crazy and surreal to think about.”

Odle ended up getting 10th place in the qualifying rounds, then ninth in following round. Odle didn’t let the trials negatively affect him. Instead, he let it motivate him to do better.

“After the Olympic Trials, I got to thinking ‘Okay if I really wanted to I could make a go of this and have the potential to make something of myself, I need to train really hard and just go into the season with the dominate-type mindset,’” he said.

In the summer of 2016, Odle was also given the opportunity to compete as a member of Team USA in El Salvador.

“It was a really cool experience,” he said. “I took fifth there and threw around 72 meters, which is only three under my PR, which is a really good throw.”

Odle’s quickly-moving momentum came to a fast halt when he tore his ACL in September.

“I had a tough encounter with an injury,” he said. “I had my surgery in November and I’m still recovering from that, so I will medical redshirt this year.”

Odle said the injury might have killed his momentum, but it is just one more thing that he will work hard to overcome.

“Recovering from an ACL surgery is one of those injuries that makes or breaks your career,” Odle said.  “You can either fight back or give up.

“I’m kind of on that verge of fighting back.”

Odle said he had the option of either stopping his javelin career after that, or working toward another shot at the Olympics.

“I don’t want to give up,” he said. “I want to get back out there because I liked the experience and competition level competing at that next stage.”

Odle is approximately a month out from the end of his recovery stage and said he is confident about making a good recovery.

“I will come back better than I was,” Odle said. “Tokyo 2020 is the goal. The last Olympic Trials gave me the passion to get there.”

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