Discus thrower: ′I need the Olympic title′ | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 07.08.2012
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Discus thrower: 'I need the Olympic title'

Robert Harting's website shows a picture of him on fire. And in London, the "German Giant" wants to strike fear into the hearts of his opponents in the discus throw.

Harting is perhaps the biggest name among Germany's 77 track and field athletes at the Olympics - both literally and figuratively. At 201 centimeters (six feet, seven inches) and 126 kilograms (278 pounds), Harting is a bear of a man.

His resume is as impressive as his stature: two-time world champion, reigning European champion, and reigning Continental Cup champion. And he's only getting better.

In May 2012, Harting hurled the 2-kilogram (4.4-pound) discuss 70.66 meters (almost 232 feet), a new personal best. He and Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania are the only men to have thrown over 70 meters in 2012.

Now, he looks to add the only title that has eluded him to his massive collection: Olympic gold.

But Harting is just as well known for controversy as he is for his talent. In comments to British newspaper "The Telegraph" in 2009 defending coach Werner Goldmann - known to have doped East German athletes in the 1980s - he lashed out at doping victims who distributed cardboard glasses to spectators at the World Championships in Berlin.

Still, Harting has done well in London so far, qualifying for Tuesday evening's final with a throw of over 66 meters. That was good enough to earn second place overall, just 17 centimeters (about 6.5 inches) behind leader Gerd Kanter of Estonia.

Channelling his anger

Discuss throwers usually achieve their best results in clear conditions. But Harting wants his most monstrous throw to come in equally monstrous conditions.

Germany's Robert Harting celebrates winning gold in the Men's Discus final at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011.

Harting won the 2011 World Championships in South Korea.

"I wished for a rainy competition before London and I got it," Harting, 27, said after winning the European Championship in Helsinki.

With driving rain and chilly temperatures the norm in London during the summer months, he may get his wish. The current forecast calls for rain and a high temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) for the 19:45 GMT final.

But what should scare opponents - and thrill spectators - most about Harting is this: after missing out on a bronze medal in 2008 by 70 centimeters, he's angry.

"I do not want to hide," he told the "Hamburger Abendblatt" newspaper. "It is a positive feeling to have a chance [to win a gold medal]. I have all the resentment, pain and depression [from 2008] combined. I need the Olympic title to flush the negative stuff out of my life."

Author: bm/rg (A, AFPE)

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