Jud Logan throwing his ‘weight’ around again
ATLANTA (AP) _ Jud Logan proudly assessed all the athletic accomplishments of his 37 years.
``I first broke the world record (in the 35-pound weight throw) in 1984 and I set the record 13 times,″ Logan said. ``I wanted to throw (the hammer) 80 meters (262 feet, 5 inches), and I did that. And I wanted to make the Olympic team, and I did that three times, in 1984, 1988 and 1992.
``The only thing I haven’t done is make a comeback.″
That’s what Logan, from North Canton, Ohio, is striving to do now _ come back from a four-year suspension at the 1992 Olympics after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
His suspension ended last summer, but because of a mixup in paperwork and a delay in getting on the International Amateur Athletic Federation’s random drug-testing list _ he then was required to take three tests _ Logan wasn’t cleared to compete until this month.
He didn’t plan on throwing the weight this season, but at the urging of his athletes at Ashland College, where he is the throws and weights coach, he entered the Eastern Michigan Classic on Feb. 14.
With expectations of throwing about 65 or 66 feet _ well below his indoor best of more than 80 feet _ Logan uncorked a heave of 72 feet, one-quarter inch, the best in the United States this year.
With that mark, Logan will go into Saturday’s U.S. Indoor Championships at the Georgia Dome as the favorite to win his first weight throw title since 1986, when he completed a three-year run.
Since then, world record-holder Lance Deal has won nine of the 10 titles, including the last eight. But Deal has a back injury and is not competing, leaving the way open for Logan.
The meet began today with finals in the women’s pole vault and the men’s and women’s distance medley relays, along with trials in the men’s and women’s 200, 400 and 800 meters. The championships end Saturday with finals in 29 events.
The first two finishers in each event except the relays and weight throws qualify for the U.S. team that will compete in the World Indoor Championships at Paris next weekend.
The reason for the absence of the weight throwers is that the event no longer is contested internationally. Missing out on the championships won’t dismay Logan because he is committed to his Ashland athletes, and at least three of them _ and possibly five _ will compete in the NCAA Division II Championships next weekend at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
He has been coaching at Ashland since 1994, and ``working with the kids has kept me at a 50 percent level of being in shape,″ Logan said. ``It’s also kept me healthy and given me an opportunity to stay in touch with the sport.″
``I missed competing,″ Logan added. ``But I would have eaten myself up if I kept saying, `What if?′ ″
When he was suspended, after having finished fourth in the hammer throw at the Barcelona Games, he thought the ban would be for three months because clenbuterol was classified as an asthmatic medication.
``I was using it for more energy and for recovery,″ Logan said. ``I had decided to start taking it in the fall (of 1991). It was still in my system when I was tested. I should have done more research on the subject.″
While Logan would have liked to have fought for a three-month suspension instead of a four-year ban, he didn’t have the financial resources to contest it.
``That’s not in a hammer thrower’s checkbook,″ he said.
``I never thought the decision was fair, but I knew what my chances were against the IAAF. Also, I didn’t want to keep my family’s name in the news for four years, like Butch Reynolds did.
``I knew some day that I would compete again, on a club or national or international level.″
That’s why Logan is so intent on making the U.S. team for the World Outdoor Championships at Athens, Greece, in August. The world’s best hammer throwers will be there, and that will be Logan’s big test, if he qualifies by finishing in the top three at the U.S. Outdoor Championships at Indianapolis in June.
``I’m not putting any pressure on myself,″ he said. If I enjoy myself and have some good results, hopefully, I’ll make it to the worlds.″
If he does, that would complete the comeback, Logan said.