Who needs Beast Mode when you have the power of a dinosaur?
Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer
For an athlete who has hit the national standard every year, throwing the auto-qualifier distance three months before nationals doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal – considering he throws it on a regular basis.
Chris Pickering, shot putter for the University of Regina Cougars, is going to be competing at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national track and field competition for his fourth – and final – time.
“I’m one of the oldest athletes on campus,” laughed Pickering. “I’m a dinosaur. I’m an old breed.”
But for a sport like shot put, being an “old man,” as Pickering likes to call himself, can actually be a good thing.
“I like to call myself a dinosaur, but throwers in general compared to other track and field athletes actually do get really old,” he said.
For throwers, Pickering explained that old-man strength is a real and extremely beneficial thing.
“You can be 35 or 36 and still be a world class thrower,” he said. “It takes that kind of time to just develop the technique you need to be a world class thrower and the physical abilities and the habits to do that.”
But for Pickering, that talent has always been natural for him.
He has been competing at an exceptional level since his teen years, and has only gotten better since.
With two silvers and a gold at the Canada West competition and one bronze medal in CIS nationals on his resume, Pickering is looking forward to another chance at both meets this season.
“Canada West is trying to come in and throw as far as possible to get ready for CIS,” explained Pickering. “That’s when it’s important and I want to deliver at those two meets.”
Head coach Bruce McCannel is proud of his senior thrower.
“For an athlete of Chris’ caliber it is nice to be able to get the CIS auto-qualifier out of the way early in the season,” he said. “Athletically, my hope is for Chris to enjoy and be proud of his last season on the Cougars.”
Pickering has set quite high expectations for himself in his final season, and like most student athletes, has the pressures of school right alongside them.
“I’m at five and five [classes a semester] and a pre-internship in a two-three split class,” Pickering said. “I miss sleep; sleep is so good.”
The education student admitted finding time to balance school, track and relationships can be a struggle, but he knows people are there to support him.
McCannel has confidence in Pickering’s abilities as a teacher, and with a nickname like “Kindergarten Chris” – thanks Tory Shewfelt for that – and the body of a giant plush teddy bear, you can only imagine the success he will have in his future career.
As far as his athletic future, he is looking towards big – and realistic – dreams.
“I went to Kamloops at the beginning of October and want to go back,” said Pickering.
In Kamloops, Pickering trained under “the best coach to ever live,” Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk.
“He is one of the people who invented lifting weights to make you a better athlete,” he said. “He knows more about throwing and training that I could never even learn in three or four lifetimes.”
With the 2016 Olympics as a distant goal and the 2015 Pan Am games as an approaching target, Pickering is hopeful.
“Pan Am games are in Toronto next year, so we will see where life takes me.”
But, for now, Pickering has four weeks before he heads to Edmonton for the Canada West championships on Feb 21.