It was the most humiliating day of Jarred Romes life.
The former Boise State discus thrower was supposed to become an Olympic star in 2008 in Beijing. Instead, he didnt even make the U.S. team left out because of an unexplainably ugly performance at the trials.
I didnt leave the house for a month after that, I was so embarrassed, he said. I let down my sponsors, let down my community, let down my family.
He planned to retire. The idea of facing his failure was too much.
Then, several months later, he realized there was a worse fate knowing that his final day as an elite athlete was also his worst.
I woke up and said, Is this the way you want to retire? With a devastating blow like this? Absolutely not, said Rome, a six-time All-American at Boise State from 1995 to 2000. I got up that day and started training.
Since that day, its been an amazing four years.
All of the work was geared toward redemption and his opportunity has come.
Rome will compete in the discus preliminaries at the London Olympics, which begin at 3 a.m. MT on Monday. The finals are at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The 35-year-olds goal: Become the first American man to win a discus medal since 1984.
I expect to get a medal, he said. Its a situation where Im in the best shape of my life right now. Im throwing phenomenal. I feel more prepared than I ever have.
Rome hasnt competed much this year because of injuries but he recorded the third-longest throw in the world last year. He finished second at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.
This is his second Olympics. He figures he could have won a medal in 2004 in Athens, but the pressure admittedly affected him and he finished 14th.
(This year) is more rewarding than my first Olympic team, he said. At that point in time in my life, I figured Ive got the next Olympics and possibly 2012 after that. Going into this one, the Olympic Trials in Eugene was the most stressful meet of my life. I looked at it if I dont make this team, my career is over.
Eugene has figured prominently in Romes career.
Thats where his 2008 trials disaster happened. He was considered a lock to make the American team and there was speculation that he would medal. His family already had shelled out $6,000 in non-refundable travel expenses to China.
Rome made one throw in the qualifying round to rank first.
But in the finals, each of his three throws fluttered. He finished 11th with a throw that was 31 feet short of his season best. The top three advance.
I had three throws slip off my hand and go straight up in the air, he said. That had never happened before and it never happened after. (That) was the only year in the last nine years that I didnt place top three (at a national meet). I have no clue what happened.
He returned to Eugene in 2009 for the national championships. He finished second and made the world championship team.
I was extremely stressed out and worried and nervous, he said.
And he was back in Eugene this summer for the trials. His second-place finish earned him an Olympics berth and enough credibility with sponsors that he can afford to train for the 2013 world championships.
Originally from Marysville, Wash., he lives and trains in Chula Vista, Calif.
Im throwing the best Ive ever thrown in my life, so I dont want to retire, he said.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat