KAMLOOPS — Two years ago, Ethan Katzberg was a basketball player in Nanaimo. With some convincing from Dylan Armstrong, he came to Kamloops to throw hammer.
“I was always involved in track, and so I was always balancing track and basketball through high school. Then after high school, I switched my focus,” said the 18-year-old rising star.
He’s probably happy he did because he’s the best in Canada in his age group. Last weekend, he set a record for longer hammer throw ever by an 18 year old in Canadian history with a 69.79 metre toss.
“That’s fantastic. I haven’t seen anybody throw that far in Canada for that age ever,” said Armstrong, his coach with the Kamloops Track and Field Club. “I think I was the last guy, but I was 19 and I didn’t throw the 7.26 kg [hammer, which Katzberg did last weekend] that often at that age. He’s well over world junior standards now, and I think going down to the six kilo will be fantastic.”
Katzberg added, “I wasn’t expecting it. Definitely in shape to be able to, but it did surprise me a little bit for sure.”
Armstrong first spotted Katzberg at a high school meet three years ago. He could see his potential right away as someone — at 6’6″ — that has the “perfect body” for hammer. Armstrong just said he had to put on some weight and he has.
“When Ethan came here to Kamloops, he was 191 pounds and I said to him, ‘you’ve got a great body for hammer. You’re just a little bit on the slender side, so you really need to eat and gain weight,’ and he’s done a fantastic job at that.”
Katzberg has bulked up from the 191 pounds when he arrived two years ago and is up to 220 pounds — and it’s thanks to a special diet.
“You could say the ‘See Food Diet.’ You see it, you eat it. It’s pretty straight forward,” joked Katzberg. “You eat three meals a day, four meals a day some days, and just snacking. That’s all you got to do.”
Well, that and lifting weights and training. Armstrong, an Olympic bronze medalist, says Katzberg has what it takes to make it to the world’s biggest stage.
“Yeah absolutely. A little bit too young right now, but absolutely,” said Armstrong on his Olympic potential. “Sky’s the limit for Ethan. He’s just got the body. I don’t like talking numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s well over 70 metres in the next month.”
Katzberg added, “The sky’s the limit if you’re willing to put the work in, right? You just have to have the right mentality, keep your head down and just work hard.”
Katzberg’s focus is on this year’s World Junior Track and Field Championships, which are scheduled for August in Keyna.
Chad Klassen / March 26, 2021