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Discus less painful for Godina

July 2, 2008 |  3:40 pm

John Godina was third in the discus at the Adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center in May.

EUGENE, Ore. — John Godina's heart said yes, continue as a shotputter. But his hand, elbows, knees and feet said no, and they prevailed.

That led Godina, a four-time world shotput champion and winner of Olympic silver in 1996 and bronze in 2000, to return to discus throwing after a five-year lapse and to acknowledge that his shotput career was, well, shot.

"It was too painful. Too many body parts hurt too much," said Godina, who will compete in the discus qualifying round at the U.S. Olympic trials tonight at Hayward Field.

"I decided I'd switch to an event that can probably hurt only one or two body parts."

Godina, a 1995 UCLA graduate, won the U.S. discus title in 1997 and 1998 and held the shotput and discus titles in '98. He was third in the shotput at the 2004 Olympic trials and ninth in the Games.

The lighter weight of the discus — 4.4 pounds, versus 16 for the shotput — is kinder to his body.

"And the motion's a lot longer and easier," he said. "It's not really as quick, moving in a circle.... You're still working hard but in a kind of softer, more gentle way."

He rated his season as "pretty good," with throws of 205 feet, 7 inches at the Reebok Grand Prix meet in New York and 202-11 at the Adidas Classic in Carson.

"After five years off, it took a while to get back into it," he said. "I'd say the last six weeks have been really solid."

Good enough, he said, to rate his chances of making the Olympic team at better than 50-50.

"I would say it's a good enough chance that I'll be disappointed if I don't go, that's for sure," said the 36-year-old, who operates a gym in Mesa, Ariz. His wife, Kendra Jordan, operates a pilates studio.

"I just need to do my job," he said. "As long as I do my job I should be fine."

-- Helene Elliott

Photo:  John Godina was third in the discus at the Adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center in May. Credit: Kirby Lee / Image of Sport-US Presswire