BEIJING Nik Arrhenius came into the Beijing Summer Games as a second-generation Olympian. He'll leave as the family's first Olympic participant, having one-upped his dad.
Arrhenius competed Saturday in the men's discus preliminaries, battling a index-finger blister on his throwing hand while posting a disappointing three-toss best of 58.22 meters, some five meters below his season best and seven-plus below his personal best.
And well short of a distance to move Arrhenius into the finals.
But at least he was in the hunt.
Anders Arrhenius earned a spot as a shot putter on the Swedish Olympic team going into the 1972 Munich Games, but he got injured a couple of weeks before and missed the competition.
However, Nik Arrhenius, who through his father holds dual citizenship in the United States and Sweden and competed in Beijing for the later, wearing the country's yellow and blue colors was able to battle through his lesser injury in order to compete.
Like father, like son almost.
Arrhenius' blister had developed from throwing several days ago.
"I was in the warm-up area and threw one, and it just popped open," he said, adding that he hurried to get treatment. "And I tried to chalk it up a lot to make sure the blood wasn't going to make the discus slip out of my hand."
Also hampering the former BYU NCAA champion and Mountain View High state champ were hitches in his technique and rhythm as he was trying hard to throw far.
"I have three chances to hit the big one," said Arrhenius of the 64.50 benchmark that would have automatically sent him on to the finals. "I have thrown the distance to qualify in two meets this year, so I knew it was possible. But it's been a little inconsistent lately in practice, mostly because I have been trying every throw to go full blast."
While disappointed in not realizing his goal to reach the final round and finishing 14th in his group, Arrhenius still found a silver lining.
"It's the best I've ever done in qualifying," he said, explaining his qualifying distance at last year's World Championships was about a meter shorter and two meters fewer the previous summer at the European Championships.
"I've just got to keep working at it so one day I can go to these big meets and I can hit something at one of these qualifying rounds and go beyond. That's the goal."
He also noted a number of more experienced and skilled throwers in his heat didn't advance, either.
"It's not easy," he said. "In a technical event like the discus, it's so easy to screw something up."
Arrhenius arrived in Beijing only a couple of days previous and got his first glimpse of National Stadium on the bus ride to Saturday's competition.
"I hadn't seen the Bird's Nest until we got here," he said.
Now, he'll spend the next week trying to attend other events going solo, since wife, Tiffany, and family members are back home in Utah, communicating regularly by Skype.
And it will be a while before he does get home, since he'll head back to Sweden for the annual, end-of-the-summer dual meet against Finland.
Arrhenius' summer of international and Summer Games competition has fanned his own Olympic flame."My goal is to come back in 2012 to go to London and hopefully there make it to the final," he said. "Who knows, maybe by then I'll be good enough to make a medal."
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