Marshall faculty member to train hammer throw athletes at World Track and Field Championships


SuzanneKonz_BethanyDrury_1Dr. Suzanne Konz of the College of Health Professions will travel to Chiba, Japan, in August to train hammer throw athletes for the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federation Track and Field World Championships.

Konz, associate professor and director of the college’s biomechanics lab, said although she’s worked with USA Track and Field since 2003, this is her first invitation to cover training camp for the World Championships.

“I will work with six athletes, three men and three women, during the training camp. Many people don’t appreciate the amazing athleticism of a hammer thrower – it is amazing how fast they move while throwing a heavy ball on a cable,” Konz said. “The Olympics are coming up next year, so they want to build a lot of momentum and to have success at Worlds.”

Dr. Iain Hunter, a professor at Brigham Young University with a research focus on track and field mechanics, served as Konz’s advisor at BYU when she was a doctoral student. Hunter said Konz has a great interest in sport biomechanics and has had opportunities to work with some of the best biomechanics professors in the U.S. with her USA Track and Field connections.

Helping these athletes achieve their best performance is the most exciting part of this experience, according to Konz.

“My work only impacts such a small subset of the athletic population with what I do, but it’s still a pretty cool feeling,” Konz said. “Growing up in a small farming community with a population of 200, I never thought I would be traveling the globe to work with world-class athletes on their craft.  This has been an amazing, if not surreal, experience for me and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.”

Konz will arrive in Japan for the training camp on Aug. 11 and return to the U.S. before the 2015 World Championships take place in Beijing, China, Aug. 22-30.

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Photo: Dr. Suzanne Konz (right) works with hammer throw athlete Bethany Drury.