Published July 5, 2008
The evening before the final shot put competition, Rae, Adriane and myself went to Adriane’s favorite restaurant, The Outback, for her pre-meet big meal. Her good friend, Loree Smith, who is a hammer finalist tomorrow also joined us with her boyfriend. Both girls seemed very excited and confident going into the meet tomorrow. Upon returning to the campus, we said our good-lucks to Adriane, knowing that we didn’t want to bother her before she threw the next day.
The next day, Rae and I made our way into the stadium after receiving many calls from well-wishers back home. At 1:15 p.m. the 12 finalists were led into the stadium and onto the track for their warm-up tosses. Adriane looked very solid in her warm-up throws and looked very fit, throwing in her Nike skirt and Second Sole uniform top. At 1:50 p.m. the finalists were introduced to the crowd in front of the grandstand on the home stretch. Adriane was the first to be introduced to the 20,000 sell-out crowd and acknowledged them with both arms waving high. She then turned to where her mother Rae and I were sitting and waved to us, touching us emotionally because we weren’t aware that she knew where we were sitting. But then again, that’s Adriane, always looking for those closest to her.
The competition began with Adriane drawing the first position. Her strategy going into the finals was to really go after the first throw as hard as she could. She did just that, launching one that according to her coach, Bill Godina, hit somewhere close to 58’ but unfortunately she could not hold her form in the ring and fouled. After that throw, she seemed a little tentative in her next two, throwing 53’3 3/4” and her last 54’1 1/4”. After the first round of three throws, the top eight would continue on with 3 additional throws and Adriane was in 10th position at that point. She and the other three girls were then escorted out of the infield and received well-respected applause from the crowd. The finals continued on with Michelle Carter winning the gold medal throwing a career best of 61’10 1/4”. Her father is Michael Carter who still holds the high school shot record of 81’ , was a Pro Bowl tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, and was a silver medalist in the shot at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Placing second was Kristin Heaston, sponsored by Nike, with a toss of 60’1 1/4”, and third was Jill Camarena, sponsored by The New York Athletic Club throwing 59’5 1/2”.
Adriane made her way into the stands to find Rae and I after she left the infield and was met with kind words and encouragement from the crowd around us. I knew how disappointed she had to be, but she handled it with such class and maturity. She acknowledged everyone who talked to her and it was only when Coach Godina talked to her and gave her a hug that she showed tears.
We walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch and Adriane again showed such class. Her good friend, Loree had made the Olympic team in the hammer and this was Adriane’s first chance to see her as she walked into the restaurant. Adriane immediately hugged her and was so excited for her displaying that Blewitt class so many of us have come to know. After lunch, we walked back to campus and Adriane wanted to go to her dorm for some rest. I told her I was still so proud of her, that she was still here at the Olympic Trials, that she was still one of the 10 best throwers in the country, and that she had foughtthe biggest battle of her life in beating cancer.” Her mother Rae told her, “I wear this cancer pin every day because I’m so thankful you are here and healthy and no matter what you do, I am always so proud of you.”
Adriane will be flying back to Ohio on Monday to work at Jud Logan’s throwing camp in Ashland. From there, Adriane will decide when she will throw again but when asked if the 2012 trials are in her plans, she replied, “I will be there.” My odds are on her.
On behalf of the entire Blewitt family and myself, I would like to thank every one who helped in any way to give Adriane the chance to compete for and at the trials. We were constantly telling the story to others of our Valley community that came together to help a special young lady reach for a dream. And although that dream may have fallen short this year, we will all never forget the generosity of so many of you. You may not have been here in person, but you were all here in our hearts.