Kinsley ’11 represents U. at Olympics on U.S. javelin team

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, September 21, 2012

This week’s Athlete of the Week no longer plays for the Bears, but his impact has been felt in competitions far beyond the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. Craig Kinsley ’11, a former javelin thrower and volunteer coach on the track and field team, competed in the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London as part of the U.S. javelin team.
After qualifying for the national team in June, Kinsley spent several weeks in Birmingham, England, intensively training for his Olympic debut. He did not advance past the first round in the competition but improved his global ranking from 30th to 23rd while making his international debut on the largest possible stage.
The Herald conducted an interview last week with Kinsley after his return from a post-London hiking trip through northern New England.

Herald: What was it like representing the U.S. on the world stage as a first-time Olympic athlete?
Kinsley: Being able to represent the American public was really something special that I didn’t take lightly at all. The opening ceremonies were fantastic. What you don’t see is the … long time we have to spend walking from the Olympic Village to the stadium for 2.5 miles at a very slow pace for the Parade of Nations.

How did you feel about your individual performance? Were you disappointed not to have advanced past the first round?
A lot of times at the advanced level, it’s really just going to depend on who’s going to perform the very best on a given day. With so many guys being capable of medaling based on who does what on a given day, you’re always walking that line between injury and max performance. I was pretty healthy, so I had the first piece down. I had some confidence – there were not many expectations for me because I was ranked 30th in the world. My goal was just to surprise people and compete well on a given day.
I was definitely hit with the pressure a little more than I expected in the Olympic Stadium. It was a learning experience for me. I’ll definitely be a little bit more ready for that kind of experience next time around. It seemed really glamorous from the outside, but there’s incredible training and stress in the weeks leading up.”  

According to the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, the bus carrying you and other U.S. Olympic athletes initially got lost on the way to the stadium. What was that all about?
London was trying to deal with the transportation needs of all the athletes. Our bus driver was from Scotland and doing the route for the first time and trying to find the stadium with the GPS, and we drove around for awhile, to say the least. London was unbelievable, and everyone was incredibly hospitable. If the biggest hiccup on the entire trip is getting lost on the way to the Olympics, then there’s really nothing to worry about.

How did it feel returning to the U.S. after competing and reflecting on your experience?
One of the best parts of the experience was getting out of the plane at Newark and seeing the “Welcome to the United States of America” sign. I was able to experience the Olympics a lot more through other people’s eyes, and now I’m more proud of just being an Olympian. Now that it’s over, I get to focus on what I did accomplish rather than what I didn’t accomplish. I feel like a normal person again.

What are your plans for your future as an athlete? Do you see yourself competing for a spot on the U.S. team again for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro?
I did better than I expected to this time, and four years is a long time. You never really know when your time as a professional athlete will expire. Right now, I’m definitely planning on training. I’m focusing on Moscow 2013, which are the Track and Field World Championships. I am certainly planning on being in the running for a spot on the team for Rio, but right now I’m just focusing on the coming year.