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July 9, 2004

Bert Sorin, winner of one SEC title and a four-time All-American, will compete in the men’s hammer at the USA Olympic trials Saturday morning at 1:00 pm (EST). The semi-finals will be held 8:30 pm on Monday, July 11. The finals will include the top 12 from the two flights of the hammer. The top 12 will get three more throws and then after that the finals will include the top eight who will get three more throws. The top three places advance to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Bert sat down to talk to USC on Friday afternoon about everything from his training, to throwing a lighted hammer on July 4th to what else he’s been up to.

USC: When did you graduate from USC and what was your degree in?

Sorin: I graduated in 1999 and my degree was in PE.

USC: You went to high school in Columbia, right?

Sorin: Yes, I graduated from Dutch Fork HS in 1994.

USC: How long have you been throwing the hammer?

Sorin: I have been throwing the hammer since 1995, my freshman year in college. I started as a walk-on.

USC: What first got you started?

Sorin: In the hammer, it was an accident. I was in the right place at the right time in the weight room. I met a bunch of the throwers and Coach Judge told me if I was going to be on the team I needed to be at the weight room at 2 pm the next day to try out. I told the coach I thought I would walk-on to track to throw and I was like ‘yeah, I’ll be there’. Yeah, right I thought. I thought about it that night and was like – ahh, I don’t know about all that. But I showed up the next day and the rest is history. I was a little undersized for the shot put and the discus – I weighed 170 pounds – so I started working with the javelin and the hammer. My first year I made US Junior nationals and after that I was pretty much hooked – I loved the hammer.

USC: What’s your best memory about competing at USC?

Sorin: Probably winning the 35lb. weight on my last throw at the SEC Championships. I also set the SEC record with a throw of 72′ 1. That was exciting. My second biggest thrill was getting a PR at the NCAA meet in my last collegiate meet in the hammer and finishing as an All-American.

USC: What is your personal best right now in the hammer?

Sorin: It’s 237′ 1. When I was in college it was 219′ 9. I threw my PR about a month ago at the Georgia Hammer Games. My PR prior to a month ago was 228′ 8 and that was from this year.

USC: How has your training been going?

Sorin: I train by myself mostly and sometimes with Dawn Ellerbe. Luke McKay (2003 NCAA hammer champion) from Georgia came to Columbia the July 4th weekend. We had a pre-trials training camp – just the two of us – to get ready. It was a lot of fun because out of our two practices I threw over 240 feet in both practices. He is the first American to win the hammer in like 13-14 years at the NCAA. Our last training day – one of my last practices in South Carolina – it was July 4th and after that we lite our hammers on fire at 11 pm and threw them – kind of as a salute to America. We also videotaped it. It was cool. You can find the video at — under the living strong section. People from all over the world have been emailing us about them. Four-time Olympian Lance Deal told me it made him want to come out of retirement and that now I am on his list of heroes higher than Cal Ripken, Jr.

USC: What are expecting at the trials?

Sorin: I would expect to throw a PR. And I want to break-up the apple cart and surprise a lot of people. The driving force has been to me to have a real life, a real job and still reach this level. Maybe the learning curve is a little slower, but you can still do it.

USC: What do you do for a living?

Sorin: I work full-time designing and selling weight lifting equipment for Sorinex – a family business.

USC: how much longer do you plan to throw?

Sorin: I guess until it’s not fun anymore and I have more important things to do.

USC: Anything you would like to say to the Gamecock family?

Sorin: Thanks for the support to everyone in Columbia. I have received a lot of calls and it’s nice to know that people back home are supporting my efforts out here.