Going to great lengths is what it’s all about for Cody Parker.
And the 19-year-old javelin thrower has been chucking the spear to great lengths all season long, including a Personal Best 73.50 metres at the Pan American Jr. Championships in Miramar, FL. that now has him ranked as Canada’s No. 1 junior men’s javelin thrower by Athletics Canada.
In fact, that 73.50m throw would be fourth best in Canada in senior men, and not far off No. 3 (75.53m) and No. 2 (77.24m). A keen follower of the sport, Parker notes Scott Russell recently set the Canadian record of 84.81m.
Parker, who hails from Comox and has been with the Comox Valley Cougars Track and Field Club since he first started throwing the javelin nine years ago, capped his 2011 season in style at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops on Aug. 8 with a gold medal toss of 63.66m, well beyond silver medallist and B.C. teammate James Turner’s 57.24m.
It was Parker’s sixth gold medal this year (to go along with four silver and a bronze), but it was one of those silver medals that stands out for the quiet-spoken athlete.
That was his PB 73.50m on July 23 at the Pan-Am Juniors in Florida, that was topped only by Argentine Braian Toledo’s meet record 76.40m. “That was cool,” Parker said, although he noted the weather certainly was not. “It was hot there, in the high 90s and low 100s. The whole week was hot, but we competed later in the evening.”
Parker’s previous PB was 71.19m, a gold medal performance at this year’s Canadian Junior championships. His best throw in 2010 was 65.04m, indicating how he continues to improve each year.
Parker was one of about 55 Canadian athletes at the Pan-Ams and the national team coach was from Windsor, ON. The Highland Secondary School grad said not having his regular coach, Graham Morfitt, with him was not a big problem as he just concentrated on chucking the 800 gram (1.8 pound), 2.7-metre javelin as far as he could.
Parker credits Morfitt (whose 60.61m PB ranks 11th best in Canadian senior men) and Cougars’ head coach John May as big influences in his success and notes Morfitt has been coaching him since he first joined the Cougars.
His sister Kendra used to run for the Cougars, and Parker used to hang around the track. “I started running and competing. I started throwing the javelin when I was 14. It was just something I wanted to do,” he said.
His long-term goal is to be an Olympian and right now his sights are set on the Rio 2016 Summer Games. “I’ve got a pretty good chance to go,” he said. And he’s putting in the hard work necessary to make that happen.
Along with throwing practice, “I do a lot of weights, sprinting, speed work and plyometrics. I work out every day of the week,” said Parker, adding he played hockey when he was in high school but hung up the skates in order to focus on javelin.
What does he like about the sport? “Just about everything. I like training,” he said. And when the Cougars hold clinics, Parker is there to help with the younger members. “Little kids love doing javelin,” he said. “It’s lots of fun.”
Parker is already looking forward to next season, which gets underway in early September. His exact schedule is not yet known, but there’s little doubt he will be going to even greater lengths as he chucks the javelin to greater distances in pursuit of his Olympic dream.