In the midst of a career year, Curt Jensen attributes his success in the competitive world of shot put to one thing — persistence.
Curt Jensen’s success didn’t come overnight.
In the midst of a career year, Jensen attributes his success in the competitive world of shot put to one thing — persistence.
“I’ve felt like I’ve had the ability to do this for a while,” Jensen said. “I just kept on training and kept on lifting. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in contact with coaches in the NCAA and kind of adjust my programs over the last two years.”
A 2009 Geneseo graduate, Jensen found he couldn’t continue training the way he had during college.
A 2013 Illinois State graduate, he had to tweak his training approach to maximize his ability to compete and balance his work life.
Jensen decided to cut back on the days he was lifting and started varying the weight of the shot put he was using.
After always throwing the competition weight shot put, he began throwing a heavier and a lighter shot put looking for an increase in strength by varying the different implements.
“It’s kind of funny because I’m stronger than I’ve ever been in my life,” Jensen said.
With a new found level of consistency, the results have landed him among the best in the world.
During the open competition at the Drake Relays in April, Jensen had a PR throw of 69’6” to finish third in an elite field, in Des Moines, Iowa.
“It definitely opened some eyes,” Jensen said. “It made me have the confidence to feel like I can do it anywhere.”
The 2016 Olympic champion Ryan Crouser earned the prestigious Drake title with a throw of 72’2.5”, and Tom Walsh, reigning IAAF World Indoor and Outdoor champion, finished runner-up (71’7.25”).
Since his performance at Drake, Jensen proven his performance was no fluke.
He finished runner-up (20.97 meters) at the Tucson Elite Classic, at Drachman Stadium, in Tucson, Ari., in May.
He had the second-best throw of his career (69’4”) in his opening toss at the Iron Wood Throws Classic on June 2.
Jensen has another chance to put himself among the best with the upcoming USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships being held at Drake Stadium, in Des Moines, from June 21-24.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching, Jensen’s improved consistency has given him confidence about realizing his Olympic dream.
“A big number to hit is 70’,” Jensen said. “I’ve thrown 69’6” and 69’4”, so I’m knocking on the door. I’ve had some training throws that tell me it’s going to be there when it’s time. Hitting that distance you are ready to make an Olympic team at any time. Twelve centimeters further than my PR was the bronze medal at the Olympics in 2016.”
As the games approach, his next step will be traveling to Europe and competing on the international circuit.
“It’s a huge benefit to learn how to travel and throw well,” Jensen said. “With the stress of travel and the jet lag, it’s important to learn how your body and your central nervous system are going to function. It sets you up for world championships, the Olympics and any international events along with the fact that there is money to be made overseas if you throw well.”
A 2016 Geneseo Hall of Fame inductee, Jensen said he wants to continue to build and improve from where he began with the Geneseo track team, to his time at Illinois State and beyond.
“The growth over time is kind of what this sport takes,” Jensen said. “If you are in it for the long haul, you can have some success. I hope I can shed a light on the sport for some of the kids who are in high school.”