In previous years, 90-meter throws were almost everyday, but this season Johannes Vetter is far from his best. Instead of approaching the javelin throw world record, he struggles with technical inadequacies that overload his body.
In the year after the great frustration at the Olympics, things are not going according to plan for top javelin thrower Johannes Vetter in the World Cup and European Championship season either. The 2017 world champion has canceled his starts at two international meetings and is working on his form in training three and a half weeks before the German championships in Berlin. "It's physically and mentally exhausting because we haven't had it that way before," said the 29-year-old. "I would have thought that I could do better in the first competitions of the season."
With his 85.64 meters from the start in Offenburg two weeks ago, Vetter is only in third place behind Andreas Hofmann (Mannheim/86.09) and Julian Weber (Mainz/85.64) on the German annual best list, which he usually has distances of well over 90 meters. As the world's best of the year at 96.29 meters, he was also the favorite for the Olympic gold medal in August last year, but he couldn't cope with his powerful throwing style on the soft surface of the run-up track. Ninth with 82.52 meters instead of Olympic champion was the disappointing result in the end.
"I don't waste too much time thinking about the past year because I'm not getting anywhere with it. And I currently have other problems to solve," said Vetter. "I have a few technical problems and physical problems follow. Small evasive movements put excessive strain on muscle groups, ligaments and tendons. Unfortunately, the power is not going in the right direction at the moment - and then it hurts here and there." Top distances are not possible for the German record holder, who with his 97.76 meters from 2020 was only 72 centimeters behind the world record of the Czech Jan Zelezny.
Vetter already seemed a bit at a loss when, frustrated, he decided not to start last week after throwing in in Dessau. He has canceled starts in Ostrava on Tuesday and Hengelo on Whit Monday from his plan. "In the next two weeks I will not do any more competitions. I look from day to day," said the athlete from LG Offenburg.
He reported physical values that speak for a good condition. "But javelin throwing is also a very delicate discipline, everything has to fit," said Vetter. "We analyze, try and see what's wrong. In the javelin throw it's sometimes just the little things that lead to a chain reaction."
The floor covering in Tokyo, on which Vetter painfully fell, was no small thing. Vetter is therefore also committed to uniform start-up conditions. "Since the 1990s nobody has really thought about it. The material has changed, the statutes haven't," said the athlete from coach Boris Obergföll. "In my opinion there is only one way to throw really far - and you need a very strong stem to do that. If the ground doesn't play along, the javelin doesn't fly big over 90 meters and certainly not over 95 Meter."
The German Athletics Association supports him. "If you remember the pictures of the Olympic Games, it's very clear that we all suffered with Johannes," said DLV CEO Idriss Gonschinska. "Of course it has an uncanny effect when such a world-class athlete makes a personal effort."
Vetter reported a "good solution" for the EM from August 15th to 21st in Munich. For the World Cup in the USA from July 15th to 24th there is still a problem. "We hear from a lot of American javelin throwers that the rubber is too soft," he said. "But right now I have other things to do and little time to think about it."