Sport

He is a beast

Reece Hoffa says Travis Smikle is a ‘beast’

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2014    

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WHEN one of the greatest shot-putter in the world, Reese Hoffa, says you are good, you have to pause and consider. But when he describes you as a 'beast', which is the discription he gave to Jamaica's Travis Smikle then you have to believe.

Hoffa, 36, the 2007 World Shot Put champion and 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist, was special guest at the Big Shot Invitational and although Smikle wasn't in attendance, Hoffa had his praises for him.

"Travis Smikle is a beast," said Hoffa, who has thrown the shot put over 21 metres, a record 125 times.

"We tried to get him into University of Georgia. He has incredible talent and I look forward to see him do incredible things," he added.

Smikle, 21, standing at 6 ft compared to Hoffa's 5 ft 11 inches; 190 pound to Hoffa's 320, is Jamaica's record holder for the discus with a throw of 67.12m.

"I don't know what you are doing here in Jamaica but the discus seems to fly very far. Maybe you guys are just built for speed and great discus throwing," said Hoffa.

But Hoffa who has been at the top of his game since announcing himself to the world with gold at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, said he had planned to retire in 2014 but will do so two years later because of a request from his wife.

"My ultimate goal was to be done in 2014, but my wife wants us to pay off for the house, so I will have to throw another two years. It's 2016 now," revealed Hoffa.

The powerful American who defeated the world in Osaka, Japan, in 2007, revealed how success got to his head and he lost his way for a few years.

Said Hoffa: "It was very humbling. In 2007, I won the World Championship and going into 2008, I thought I was gonna keep on rolling, win that gold medal and life would have been sweet. When I didn't medal that brought me back down to earth," he noted.

"I got caught up in the celebrity of being Reese Hoffa. I was on video games, I was doing talk shows, people were naming babies after me. It was crazy. So going into 2012 and coming back with a medal just made me appreciate it more," he reiterated.

Hoffa, who left the island on Sunday, had some advice for Jamaican throwers.

"They have to continue to work hard. They are going in the right direction with their training and what they are doing technically. They must just continue to dream big," said Hoffa.

He continued: "If you only think you are going to be a 15-metre shot-putter, then you will only be 15. Why not dream to be a 20-metre shot-putter and continue to go higher and be a 21 metre shot-putter".

"When I just started I didn't believe I would be a 20-metre shot-putter. I thought I would be lucky if I broke 21 and I have broken 21m, 125 times. So I can just kind a dream a little bit bigger and bigger and keep accomplishing all those goals and never put limitations on myself," said Hoffa.

Hoffa who has a personal best of 22.43m which puts him 11th on the all-time list of best shot-putters, said he always wants to win and that driving force has made him better.

"The mentality you have to have is to go into every single competition thinking you gonna win everything and keeping yourself at that standard. When you lose, you go back home and regroup like how I did. I lost but still continued to work hard," he pointed out.

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