Olympian Rome works with local athletes

Gina Flint, left, receives tips on weightlifting, to aid her discus and shot put performance, from Olympian Jarred Rome on March 17. - Kirk Boxleitner
Gina Flint, left, receives tips on weightlifting, to aid her discus and shot put performance, from Olympian Jarred Rome on March 17.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Discus thrower Jarred Rome has competed around the world since his stint in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, but he still made time to come back to his hometown of Marysville on Saturday, March 17, to try and pass on some of the insights he’s gleaned from his years in the discus and shot put.

“I’ve been doing clinics for other people since 1998, but I’ve had ideas for a while about how I wanted to do my own,” said Rome, who conducted his second discus and shot put clinic at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, following the first clinic he conducted in Arizona three weeks prior. “A lot of clinics will just have you doing 500 throws a day, but I wanted to actually educate and make it more instructional. Of course, doing it yourself is a lot more work than doing it for other people,” he chuckled.

According to the attendees of his March 17 clinic, Rome’s hard work yielded new insights for them in discus and shot put. While the bulk of the roughly two dozen student competitors, plus a handful of adult coaches, who showed up to the M-PHS gym that Saturday came from Marysville, there were a few faces not only from elsewhere within Washington state, but also from Oregon and Idaho. They traveled to see Rome, just as Rome has traveled around the world to hone his skills and add to his techniques.

“I’ve trained at Olympics centers in Germany and Russia,” Rome said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be put in contact with some of the best coaches in the world. I’ve been educated by the world.”

What the world has taught Rome is that there are a variety of styles to choose from, in both training and performance, each of which can work for different competitors. It’s one of the lessons that his students on March 17 took to heart.

“Jarred is really cool and down to earth,” said Corbin Ferry, 15, of M-PHS, who’s been competing in shot put for two years. “He doesn’t say, ‘This way won’t work.’ It’s not about one certain way, but a lot of different ways.”

“This has been really fun,” said Felecia Vadset, 17, also of M-PHS, who’s been competing in discus for four years. “I thought this clinic would just offer a brief overview, but he’s really gone into depth.”

Ferry learned to stagger his stance, rather than keeping his feet even, while Vadset learned that she needs to keep her feet farther apart, to aid her balance. Among the more common misconceptions that Rome addresses in young discus and shot put competitors is retraining them to use their lower bodies more than their upper bodies to throw.

“A lot of young people throw with the upper body, when the lower body is where the action should be happening,” Rome said. “The upper body should be relaxed, while the lower body does the work.”

Rome is such a strong believer in self-evaluation that he told his students that Saturday to buy notebooks to write down how they feel after each practice session, to get a better sense of which moves and exercises work for them and which ones don’t. He explained that he drew the curriculum for his clinics from referring back to his own notebooks, to figure out how to teach what he’s learned over the years.

“I’ve wanted to do this since 2004,” Rome said. “I love this. I love coming back to Marysville. I want to help this area produce more Olympians.”


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