VT Alumnus ready to hammer competition at the Olympics
His performance did not surprise the track and field coaching staff at Virginia Tech. Dave Cianelli, the Hokies ‘director of athletics programs since 2001, and Greg Jack, the former Hokies’ pitching coach, saw that kind of potential when they recruited him in 2008.
Lomnicky lived up to that potential, winning a national championship in the hammer throw and shot put (an indoor track and field event) during his time with the Hokies from 2009 to 2012.
“Oh absolutely,” Cianelli said when asked if he thought Lomnicky had the potential to be an Olympic medalist. “I knew that if he kept throwing he could reach the next level, which is sort of 79-80 yards. He threw 75+ when he was at Tech. The hammer tends to be a slower developing event, and it takes several years, and it’s been there for almost 20 years now, so yes, I think, as far as his age and strength goes, he’s at his best. peak since this event.
“Over the years, you develop your technique and become better and more consistent. He’s been able to do that and continue to develop and stick with, and for the most part, stay healthy, which is a huge part. But yeah, I think he has a good chance of mixing it up for a top three spot, if he’s in the same kind of shape he was at his national championship. This is a good sign before the Games.
“When I signed up with Virginia Tech, I was not the Olympic athlete’s material, which meant my results were nowhere near that level,” Lomnicky said. “Virginia Tech offered me a full scholarship, and all of a sudden I wasn’t worried about the cost of rent, food, etc. Everything was paid for. All I had to do was study and train. And that’s exactly what I did.
“These five years of training at Virginia Tech have been the best thing that can happen to me also because of their amazing facilities. We don’t have one like that in Slovakia. The coaching staff also helped, but what helped me the most was myself and the opportunity Virginia Tech gave me.
Lomnicky’s international success, however, did not come without sacrifices. Slovakia lacks some of the resources to develop medal-winning Olympians, and this has forced Lomnicky to make some tough choices, including leaving his wife and two young children in Slovakia while he trained at the Olympic Training Center. United States in Chula Vista, CA, just outside of San Diego.
Lomnicky spent three months earlier this spring in Chula Vista, and that weather obviously helped him. He probably wouldn’t have thrown 79.19 meters without this training.
“My wife understands very well what the sport needs at this level,” said Lomnicky. “She knows that without sacrifice this cannot be done. Once I sat down with her and we started talking. I told him I ideally needed three months of training camp in an ideal weather location to maximize my chances for the Olympics. I asked how much time was she willing to give me given our growing family. She said to go ahead and do whatever you think will give you the best chance of winning an Olympic medal.
“Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better wife. Of course, it was more than difficult for her to stay home on her own with two young children, but in the end I am a three-time Olympian because of her.
No matter what happens in Tokyo, Lomnicky plans to continue training in hopes of making it to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. After that, he is not sure about his future.
Lomnicky’s immediate future looks bright, however. He just hopes he’s golden.
– Jimmy robertson