If, during a future job interview, Sophia Rivera is asked if she is able to multi-task, she now has a ready made answer.
Thursday night, in the World Youth Games, she competed in the shot put and javelin finals…at the same time.
She literally had to take a throw in the shot, cross the infield, take a throw in the jav, and then head back to the shot.
And threw great in both events, finishing eighth in the jav with a throw of 50.85m, and second in the shot with a sixth-round put of 17.93m.
According to Sophia’s mom, “the IAAF officials allowed her to throw anywhere in the order but it had to be in the given round or it would be a pass. She warmed up for javelin at the practice track but once inside the stadium only warmed up for shot. The shot put start list had her throwing last – she chose to throw 2nd in the order and then it was off to the races! She had time to change shoes, but not much… After her 4th throw in the Jav, she knew her chances were better to medal in the shot, so she passed her last two javelin throws.”
Sophia’s coach, Ron Eichaker, was not surprised by her poise. According to Ron, “Her performance yesterday represented a culmination of all her training both physical and mental over the past several years.”
Ron pointed out that Sophia trains at least two and sometimes three different events at a typical practice session. “Each session lasts between 90 and 120 minutes. As we transition from one discipline to the other, I work with her on subtle mental imaging. Over time, it conditions her mind to compartmentalize.”
Providing an additional boost Thursday night in Cali, was the fact that Sophia was representing her country. “After all,” continued Ron, “it was all for her team. She knows that she is part of something bigger than herself and she was honored to answer when her events were called.”
Sophia’s next chance to represent the US will be at the Pan Am Juniors in Edmonton, Canada over the weekend of July 31st. Though she will be competing against older athletes (NCAA champion Raven Saunders for one) it promises to be a relaxing weekend for Sophia as she will be competing only in the shot.