Our take: Mormon Olympian Jillian Camarena-Williams competed in the shot put in London and placed 16th. She has also been pursuing graduate work at Brigham Young University and it's intersected with her athletic pursuits, as this interview Wired.com did with her before the Games.
Jillian Camarena-Williams cannot be stopped.Comment on this story
Despite a change in throwing style, a back injury and the stress of completing her master’s thesis at Brigham Young University, the shot putter is throwing farther than any other American woman. The 30-year-old holds the American indoor and outdoor records at 65 feet, 3.75 inches and 66 feet, 2.5 inches, respectively. She’s won 11 national titles since 2005 and finished third in last year’s world championships, the best finish ever by an American.
Coming out of Stanford University in 2004, Camarena-Williams switched her throwing style from a gliding approach to one with a spin. At 5 foot 10, she’s several inches shorter than most of the best throwers, and her coach thought the added rotation would generate more momentum. Within four months, Camarena-Williams was getting more distance than she ever did in college.