Series14 Sep 2015

Personal bests – Christina Schwanitz


Christina Schwanitz in the shot at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)

Newly minted world shot put champion Christina Schwanitz is currently riding a crest of a wave in her career. We chat to the German thrower about a number of things of significance in her career. 

My best achievement

It is clearly winning the World Championships in Beijing – the high point and crowning glory of 15 years of training in athletics. After the third-round throw (of 20.37m to take the lead) I was almost sure I had won the gold medal. I remember the moment clearly when I stepped on the podium to receive my gold medal.

My greatest rival

I have had several big rivals in my career; Valerie Adams (four-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist), China’s Gong Lijiao (world silver medallist and Olympic bronze medallist) and Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko (Olympic and European silver medallist). Valerie is always the strongest and is such a tough rival. She always puts in an extraordinary performance is each and every competition.

The best piece of coaching advice

Keep calm; a phrase often repeated by my current coach, Sven Lang. Even at the World Championships in Beijing, he kept telling me to keep calm. The phrase is very useful as it helps settle my emotions. Sven is very direct and straight forward and I respond well to that.

My best friend in athletics

I would say I get on very well with all the throwers, not only shot putters but all throwers, whether that is discus, hammer or javelin throwers. And not only in Germany, but also internationally. Even though I may not be able to speak fluently with all of them, I have a good relationship with most of them. I think throwers have a different mentality. This is partly because the public and the crowd are not so interested in the shot put and as throwers we gain advice and confidence from one another.

The best venue

The London Olympic Stadium. The stadium is very nice looking and the crowd are also very knowledgeable. It was nice to know the crowd have an interest in the shot put and all athletics events, it helped inspire us to throw farther. I got the impression during the London Games the crowd were interested in not only athletics but all sports that featured at the Games, whether that was boxing or swimming.

My greatest disappointment

I like to forget my disappointments and put them to the back of my mind. It is not cool to remember bad memories. I think it comes from how you are brought up. I like to remember nice things, this is logical.

My greatest indulgence

I enjoy my time in the garden. When I spend time there, it allows me to rest and forget about athletics. My garden is a short drive in the car away from my house and I spend a lot of time there in the spring and autumn. I like to grow plants there and at the moment I have flowers and raspberries growing there. I like the silence of the garden and the fact I can live by my own rules. I enjoy the silence and it helps relieve the pressure. It is a place where I can relax and not have to think about the shot put.

The best athlete I have ever seen

Valerie Adams. I like the fact she always champions clean sport and time after time produces her best performances.

My best achievement outside of athletics

In the past I worked as a council officer in my home city in a versatile role in which I helped many other people. I carried out a range of tasks from working with the Mayor of the city to working in a kindergarten – I’m proud that I managed to help so many people.

The best pre-competition song

I like Sweat by Snoop Dogg and David Guetta. I play this song before a competition, and at the World Championships in Beijing it was played in the stadium just ahead of my fifth-round throw.

Steve Landells for the IAAF