London 2012 javelin preview: Beijing veterans look to grab gold again

London 2012 javelin: In the men's and women's competitions later this week, Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen and Barbora Spotakova from the Czech Republic, both gold medal-winners from Beijing, will try to stay on top.

Dylan Martinez/Reuters
London 2012 javelin: Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen competes during the men's Javelin competition at the Bislett Stadium in Oslo June 7. Throkildsen, who has won two gold medals in Olympic javelin, and holds the Olympic Record, is considered one of the world's best throwers.

The javelin competition begins Tuesday at 5 a.m. EST with the women's qualifying round. Two groups of 21 athletes will try to overtake each other's throws and make it to the final round.

The woman to watch is Barbora Spotakova, from the Czech Republic. Not only did Spotakova win gold in the women's javelin at the Beijing Games, she is also the current world record holder, with a throw of 72.28 meters in 2008.

But since then, Spotakova has had some competition. Russian Maria Abakumova has proved tough, and in a close meet between the two at the world championships in 2011, Abakumova was victorious.

Three American women will compete in the javelin preliminaries, Brittany Borman, Kara Patterson, and Rachel Yurkovich. Borman, who is from Missouri, will compete at the Olympic level for the first time and needs a repeat of her stellar performance at the Olympic trials. She took first place in the javelin at trials after coming from behind, third place, in the last round to win. Borman's personal best is 61.51 meters.

Patterson, from Vancouver, Wash., is the more experienced thrower. She competed in Beijing, but had a disappointing finish, in twenty-first place. Since then, Patterson set the American record in javelin by more than eight feet at the 2010 outdoor championships. Her personal best is 66.67 meters.

Yurkovich is the underdog. From Portland, Ore., Yurkovich came in fourth at the US Olympic Trials, but qualified for the London Games because of her A-standard performance. Though Yurkovich has never competed at the Olympics, she did make the finals at the world championships in 2009, only the second time an American woman reached that level. Yurkovich's personal best is 61.06 meters.

The men's qualifying round begins Wednesday at 2:05 p.m. The man to beat will be Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen

Thorkildsen is an amazing thrower who dominated the Beijing Olympics. He set a new Olympic Record and won the gold medal with a throw of 90.57 meters. Thorkildsen also won the javelin throw in 2004 at the Athens Games, and today remains one of the best throwers in the world. If Throkildsen wins the gold again he will be only the second man to win three Olympic javelin titles.

Thorkildsen's main competitor is Germany's Matthias de Zordo, who won the 2011 world championship.

The Americans competing are Craig Kinsley, Sean Furey, and Cyrus Hostetler. It will be the first Olympic competition for all of them. 

Kinsley, from Fairfield, Conn., has college experience. He competed for Brown University, and won the the NCAA title in javelin in 2010 by over eight feet. Furey, from Methuen, Mass., competed in the 2009 world championships, but did not make the final round. Hostetler, from Oregon, won the silver medal at the 2011 Pan-American Games.

The women's javelin finals will be on Thursday at 4 p.m., and the men's finals will be on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. 

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