Kara Estelle Patterson Biography
Kara Patterson grew up in Vancouver, Washington, where she won three state championships in the javelin for Skyview High School. She won the premier national high school track and field competition in becoming the Golden West Champion of 2004, and went to Purdue University. As a Boilermaker, Kara won three Big Ten Championships, four NCAA Mideast Regional titles, and was an NCAA All-American twice. In 2008, she threw over 60 meters for the first time at the Big Ten Championships, setting a Purdue and Big Ten Meet record of 61.56 meters. From there, she secured a trip to the Beijing Olympic Games by winning the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene. After graduating from Purdue in 2009, Kara won her second straight national title by throwing 63.95 meters and earned a spot on her first World Championships Team in Berlin. A move to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, support from ASICS America, and a new coach before the 2010 season was a recipe for success for Kara, as she threw an American Record of 66.67 meters, won a third straight national title, set a Hayward Field Record of 65.90 meters, finished second overall in the inaugural Diamond League series, and was ranked sixth in the world. The 2011 season saw Kara win a fourth national title and make her second World Championships Team, competing with her best major championship distance yet in Daegu, South Korea. Kara competed well in the season leading up to 2012ís Olympic Trials, throwing over 60 meters multiple times for the first time since 2010 and earning third place in New Yorkís adidas Grand Prix. Despite tearing her left ACL on her fourth throw at the Olympic Trials, she competed in her second Olympic Games in London, and finished higher than she did four years prior. She underwent surgery to reconstruct her ACL in September, and has since moved to the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center to focus on rehabilitation and continue training. Third time will be the charm for her, as she has her sights set on Rio 2016.
- 4-time USA National Champion '08-'11
- 2-time Olympian '08 and '12
- 2-time World Championships team member '09 and '11
- American Record Holder at 66.67m (218'9")
- Ranked 6th in the World by Track and Field News in 2010
- Finished 2010 second overall in the IAAF Diamond League's inaugural season
How did you start in your sport?
My geometry teacher in 9th grade told me I should throw the javelin! I was lucky enough to grow up in Washington, so we had the chance to try the event in high school. The fact that Mr. Heidenreich suggested javelin specifically and not just track and field convinced me. I ended up second in the state that year and won the next three years, with college offers following! I really enjoy still having a relationship with Mr. Heidenreich; his positive influence was such a big part of my future.
What does a typical training day look like?
I throw or sprint in the morning and lift or do gymnastics in the afternoon on a typical training day! Morning practice is for technique or speed work and afternoon practice is for strength/power, mobility and stability. I have two recovery days per week with more general strength and running things and one day completely off per week.
What keeps you passionate about your sport?
After tearing my ACL in 2012 and the rehab that has followed surgery to reconstruct it, I have a renewed appreciation for everything I do! Since I injured my knee competing, I'm very motivated to make a strong comeback and prove to myself how capable I am to get back on the runway and be better than I have ever been. Having an opportunity to do some coaching last year also got me interested in spreading word about throwing to high school athletes; there is too much talent out there and not enough exposure for kids to the javelin. I want to succeed so that I can set an example for up-and-coming athletes who might have never considered throwing.
What made you realize you had made it?
I was fortunate to move to the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center right after college and start working with Ty Sevin, who is still my coach. The resources available to athletes there and his expertise made my transition from collegiate athlete to professional pretty seamless, and my 2010 season (American Record and sixth-place world ranking) proved that. I felt like I really made it when I won my first Diamond League meet at the Prefontaine Classic in 2010 and got to travel internationally during the rest of that regular season.
I got into photography a few years ago, but have really been loving it since my ACL surgery, as it served as sort of a distraction during my recovery. I don't think I'll ever put the camera down! I LOVE exploring the outdoors with Russ, and photography is a big part of that for me. I purchased a house recently and Russ and I are completely renovating the entire thing ourselves! I mostly just do what he tells me to, but I'm absolutely loving it. I started at Purdue in Interior Design, so this is a bit of a dream of mine. I'm also working toward my MBA through DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management, and while most wouldn't consider that a hobby, I'm a big nerd and really, really enjoy being in school again!
ASICS Athletes Russ Winger and Kara Patterson take you through their gym workout and then out on the track for shot put/discus and javelin throwing.