As the Olympics approach we take a break from baseball to focus the spotlight on a young man evolving into an American icon.
At just 20 years old, Curtis Thompson is a world-class athlete. That may sound bold on the surface, but it’s truly remarkable what the Florence, NJ native has accomplished. In high school he was named Gatorade New Jersey State Player of the Year. Now a rising junior at Mississippi State University, Thompson won the 2015 Junior USATF Javelin competition with a throw of 237 feet, 4 inches. He earned First-Team All-American honors in the javelin in 2015.
He recently fell just 12 centimeters shy of the Olympic qualifying standard of 83 meters at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. That doesn’t mean we won’t see Thompson competing in Rio, but he’s on the outside looking in for now.
Jake DeWitt: What would it mean to you to represent the United States in Rio at the 2016 Olympics?
Curtis Thompson: It would me a lot to me to represent USA in Rio for the Olympics. It’s a track athlete’s dream to make an Olympic team and wear their country’s colors on their chest.
JD: What’s your take on all of the security and health issues surrounding the games in Rio?
CT: When you have so many people around the world all in one spot, security is needed. The health issues are interesting and I worry about them, but not too much.
JD: You had offers to play other sports in college. What led you to choose track and field
CT: Track and Field became my passion and I wanted to purse it. I fell in love with the sport as a whole and I have fun doing it.
JD: There are minimal financial benefits in track and field. With all of the lucrative contracts being signed in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL, do you ever second guess your decision to throw the javelin?
CT: No I don’t second guess my decision to throw javelin.
JD: If you could be the best player in any other sport, which sport would you choose? What position would you play? What team would you play for? Why?
CT: I would choose to be a professional Cricket player. I have some family that played [cricket] and it would be a crazy sport to play.
JD: New Jersey is a little different than Mississippi, right? What are some of the biggest differences you’ve noticed in way of life between the two states?
CT: The biggest difference between the two states to me is the weather. It’s hot in Mississippi and it gets hot earlier in the year than New Jersey.
JD: How has your faith guided you through your training and helped you achieve your goals?
CT: My faith has played a huge role, and it has kept me humble and hungry for my goals. It has also pushed me to work hard every day in training.
JD: What do you look forward to most when you get to visit your home in Florence?
CT: I’m ready to come home and see family and friends. I also am ready to go to Six Flags!!
JD: Are there other javelin throwers or other athletes you try to model yourself after? Why?
CT: I like to pick different things from many javelin throwers with the help of my coach, April Thomas. Also, I gain a lot of knowledge from Dr. Robert Sing.
JD: What advice would you give to aspiring young athletes hoping to be in your position?
CT: My advice for all young athletes is to dream big! And when you dream big go out there everyday and work hard to reach that dream. Anything is possible no matter what situation you are in and always keep faith.