Javelin thrower Maura Fiamoncini

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Photo courtesy of Bucknell University

A standout javelin thrower in college, Maura Fiamoncini did remarkably well during the Olympic trials while battling an injury that would have sidelined many others in her sport.

Javelin thrower Maura Fiamoncini finished seventh at the U.S. Olympic trials in late June after gritting her teeth and muscling through a shoulder injury.

A recent graduate of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, Fiamoncini, 22, earned rave reviews for her performance from her coach, Kevin Donner.

“Today may have been the most courageous effort of any athlete we have ever had,” Donner told local newspaper The Daily Item after the trials ended.

Fiamoncini is Bucknell’s javelin record-holder with a throw of 184 feet, 5 inches. She placed third at the NCAA track and field meet in early June and was a two-time All-American.

Simply put, she is one of the best athletes in the history of Bucknell, Donner told The Daily Item.

Fiamoncini says she’s proud of her accomplishments after a difficult year. “I really didn’t think I was going to have a season at all.”

Just being in Eugene, Oregon, for the Olympic trials was a victory, she says. Her biggest challenge was that she hadn’t thrown on consecutive days all season because of her injury.

“It was honestly an insane atmosphere,” she says. “Records were being broken left and right. I got to see the greatest javelin throwers. Maggie Malone just broke the American record (in May), and it was awesome to compete against her.”

Fiamoncini grew up in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, with an older brother who played golf in high school and parents who also were high school athletes.

She planned on playing softball as a high school freshman, but the track and field coach reached out to her a couple of days before the start of the season. “We went to the stadium and tried multiple events that day,” she says. “He convinced me to try the javelin, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Her first throw that day was about 60 feet. At her first meet, she threw just over 90 feet. By the end of the season, she had qualified for the state championship by throwing more than 125 feet. “I realized that I wanted to stick with it,” she says.

In college, Fiamoncini had planned on becoming an actuary, but she had a change of heart and switched to math. “I realized I didn’t want to take all the exams. I also didn’t want to work alone all day,” she explains. “I like to work collaboratively.”

Meanwhile, she practiced the javelin every day, with a weekly schedule that included throwing, running sprints, drilling with a medicine ball, swimming and doing yoga.

This past year, because of her injury, she only threw the javelin during meets while sticking to the medicine ball in practice. She qualified for the Olympic trials on April 30 at the Patriot League Track and Field Championships, where she set a new women’s meet record with her throw of 180 feet, 5 inches.

A hard worker on and off the field, Fiamoncini made Bucknell’s dean’s list several times. Battling a partially torn labrum on her dominant shoulder since last summer, she took some time off from throwing while doing physical therapy and getting a cortisone shot.

She got an MRI in November and was told she’d need surgery with a four- to six-month recovery, so she decided to continue competing while managing the pain, for which she credits her many physical therapists.

As for whether she’ll ever throw the javelin again: “Probably not,” she says.

“If I was healthy, it would definitely be a different story. At this point, I’m in so much pain after throwing for about a week.”

But that’s OK, she says. She’ll soon be starting a job as a data analyst in Pennsylvania and eventually will get surgery to fix her shoulder.

So has she ever broken a javelin? Yes, she says, although technically it wasn’t she who broke it, but a hammer thrower she practiced with during COVID-19 quarantine.

As for impaling a judge, that’s never happened, she says. “Thank God.”

The above appears in the October 2021 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.

About Elena Ferrarin

Elena Ferrarin is a native of Rome who has worked as a journalist in the United States since 2002. She has been a correspondent for Fra Noi for more than a decade. She previously worked as a reporter for The Daily Herald in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, The Regional News in Palos Heights and as a reporter/assistant editor for Reflejos, a Spanish-English newspaper in Arlington Heights. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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