Torbert’s WR throw: ‘Everything clicked, and the shot felt very light’

Doug, throwing at Perth worlds, is a newbie M65. Rob Jerome photo

Before Doug Torbert entered the ring in Eugene on April 30, the listed M65 world record in the shot (5-kilo) was 15.90 (52-2). After he ended his six throws at the Hayward Masters Classic, the Redlands resident had crushed Kurt Goldschmidt’s mark twice — first with a 16.27 (53-4 1/2) and later with a monster 16.66 (54-8). He also shattered the listed American record of 15.12 (49-7¼) by Hal Smith in 2002. So warning to you all. If you break a listed world record by 2 1/2 feet, expect a note from me. In reply to my queries, glider Doug began by giving his series: 15.47, 15.68, 16.27, 15.33, 16.66 and 15.82. This wasn’t much of a surprise, however, since in February he blasted Kurt’s indoor record with a 15.83 (51-11 1/4). But still. How is he doing this? “Most of the series was about what I usually throw – high fifteens, low sixteens,” he graciously says. “The fifth throw was one of those where everything clicked and the shot felt very light at the release.”

Here’s how the rest of an email chat went. What accounts for such great throws?

Doug Torbert: In general: I was disappointed with my effort at the recent indoor championships in Albuquerque and after seeing video and getting feedback from other throwers I realized that I was squandering substantial distance with subpar technique.

At the suggestion of Bill Harvey, I decided to reconstruct my glide from the back of the ring. Since early March, I’ve thrown every other day to try to get in enough reps to break a lot of bad habits and reinforce some hopefully better ones.

I had my doubts initially when the shot just didn’t go as far in practice, but I’ve become more comfortable the last few weeks with improved results. I’m hoping that as the season progresses and I become more comfortable with the technique changes I’ve made, that the occasional throw where everything just happens to click instead becomes the consistent norm.

Did you consider Kurt’s WR legit?

Having just moved up from the M60 division where the world record was a disheartening 18.37 meters, Kurt Goldschmidt’s 15.90 in M65 seemed modest by comparison and reachable so I assume it’s legit. I was very excited to age up and try for the record.

Ever been drug-tested in masters?

Not yet. I do think that, ideally, an athlete should be tested if they break a world record as part of the certification process.

Goals for M65?

Submit as many WR applications as I can. Try for 17 meters (55-9 1/4), Continue to enjoy the friendships I have with fellow masters athletes. Have fun.

Upcoming meets?

Sierra Gold meet in Grass Valley, Bay Area Senior Games, Pasadena Senior Games, PAUSATF Masters Championships, USATF So. Texas Championships, USA Masters Games in San Diego, Nationals in Baton Rouge,

How did you celebrate latest record?

I went to dinner with my son, who accompanied me to Eugene.

Steel tape used (for record measurement)?

Yes. Officials did a great job. My shot had to be taken to weights and measures after each of four record-breaking throws and the runner got it back to me every time before my next throw.

Any injuries or illnesses being battled?

None. I’m injury free for the first time in a couple of years.

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May 8, 2017

10 Responses

  1. Christel Donley - May 8, 2017

    Way to throw, Doug – and having a mentor like Bill, I am smiling, don’t we all!…
    See you in Pasadena!

    There is an Athletes Party the evening after the competition. Plan on celebrating with another good throw!

  2. Tim Muller - May 8, 2017

    Since Doug came on the scene a few years ago he has scorched the competition (myself included) and I have loved every minute watching him succeed! I wanted some competition but this is a case of “be careful what you ask for!”
    It’s indeed an honor to compete along side a true champion – Doug is my hero!!

  3. Geoffrey Gee - May 9, 2017

    Superb throw, Doug.
    By the way, all of us shot put finalists at WMAC Perth were marched over to the drug testing area upon completion. The top three, including you, naturally, where selected for testing.

  4. Brian Williams - May 9, 2017

    Good job Doug! You are motivating.

  5. Rob Jerome - May 9, 2017

    Terrific watching and photographing you in Perth. Congratulations on the WR. Should be a great year for you at upcoming meets.

  6. Steve Morris - May 9, 2017

    What happened to Hal Smith? I haven’t seen him at any meets lately. Besides the weights he use to pole vault. He almost hit bottom in a soft foam pit and his dog use to catch his step!

    He was an outstanding football player at UCLA in the 50’s and played in the pros.

  7. Ken Stone - May 10, 2017

    Hal hasn’t thrown since 2008:

    He was a member of the Southern California Striders, and I’m afraid he may have passed away.

  8. James Malin - May 10, 2017

    The thing about Doug is that he is such a nice person, down to earth and not at all self centered or aloof. His performances inspire all of us “middling” throwers, and being able to say I m “competing” with the world record holder adds gravitas to this endeavor .

  9. Jeff Davison - May 11, 2017

    A little info on Hal Smith

  10. Gavin murray - May 11, 2017

    Fantastic effort Doug, I threw with you when you broke the American record in 2014, at 65 this is exceptional. Keep heading towards 17m champ

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