Editor’s Note: This week Collegian Sports will focus on the
exploits and training of six current and former Rams as they
prepare to compete in the US Olympic Trails July 9 to 18 in
Michael Jordan. Marion Jones. Jesse Owens. Throughout the years
the Olympic Games have crowned world class athletes with gold
medals and the pride of nations.
This summer, Colorado State junior Loree Smith will attempt to
add her name to the storied list of Olympic competitors.
The thrower’s numbers speak for themselves: 2003 Mountain West
Conference Indoor champion in the shot put and weight throw. 2002
MWC Outdoor champ in hammer throw and discus. Currently, the second
best collegiate toss in the hammer throw (220 feet) and the fourth
best in the discus throw (187 feet, 4 inches).
In June, she will compete for a NCAA title. On July 9 to 18, in
Sacramento, Smith joins America’s athletic elite for the chance to
trade green and gold for red, white and blue.
“It will determine if I’m going to Athens (Greece) come August
or if I’m watching on a TV,” Smith said.
Not bad for someone from the “boonies of Julesburg (Colo.),” she
Leaving high school Smith was not widely sought. Her recruitment
video was “one of the worst I’ve ever seen,” said throws coach
The footage, shot through a chain link fence with Smith throwing
40 yards away, shook as if it had been filmed during an earthquake,
However, the coaching staff saw something special and took the
chance on her.
“She didn’t have the coaching or the competition she needed,”
Bedard said. “There’s a lot of upside in recruiting small town
kids, if they like to compete.”
Smith entered Fort Collins as a soft-spoken diamond in the
rough. She’s leaving as a fun-loving Olympic hopeful.
“She’s animated, typically really fun and sarcastic,” Bedard
said. “She’s a big laugh.”
“I’m the class clown for better or for worse,” Smith said. “Even
if I don’t make my friends laugh, I entertain myself.”
Off the track, her broad grin, candid chuckling and dark orphan
Annie curls disguise her intensity and brawn. On the track, her
powerful core and quick feet portray her talent.
“Loree’s speed is her advantage,” said fellow thrower Melissa
To utilize the speed to her advantage Smith and Bedard worked on
implementing a fourth rotation into her hammer throw. The change
brought hours of practice and frustration, but ultimately produced
“We haven’t had a woman come through CSU that can do what she
can do,” Bedard said. “The biggest part is convincing her how good
With an evolving throw, the coaching staff redshirted her
through the 2003 outdoor season.
Last summer, with the Olympic trials on the horizon and eager to
get back to competition, Loree increased her workouts.
“I trained my butt off,” Smith said.
She ran stairs in Hughes Stadium and hit the weights. Her left
leg hurt, but she continued to push. The overzealous training
caused a stress fracture in her tibia.
Her goals were put on pause.
She sat out of the indoor season and had to scale her training
back – no sprinting, plyometrics or weights. She has just recently
been cleared to start training again.
While most of her competitors are at their strongest, Loree
Smith is just now starting to reach a normal intensity. As her
training increases, she expects her performance to grow as
The top three finishers at the Olympic Trials will represent
America in Athens. Smith will attempt to qualify in the hammer
throw. Bedard estimates that she will need throws around 230 to
As a student of the sport Smith is “a lot of fun to coach,”
Bedard said. “In effect, she’s another coach out there.”
Her ability to learn and to teach herself is a byproduct of an
English education major with grades worthy of the dean’s list.
For now, her goal to become a teacher will wait while her goal
to win Olympic gold takes center stage.
Mark Spitz. Michael Johnson…Loree Smith?