By Thom Van Vleck
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Athletes Performance in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a world class training facility that is home to the John Godina World Throws Center. I was there to do an interview with Mr. Godina for a publication I write for.
I really like throwing as a sport (shot, discus, Scottish Highland Games) and I especially like John Godina because he just may be the greatest drug free thrower of all time. He has adamantly spoke out against performance drugs and made no secret where he stands on them and those who use them.
As for the Center, well, it was quite a place. I have been to Clark’s gym, Big Al’s Dino Gym, and of course, the Jackson Weightlifting Club. I have heard about other USAWA clubs and there seems to be a theme. That theme is perhaps best described as “Old School” or maybe “Dungeon” might be a better word.
If you are like me, that’s how you like it. Godina’s digs were of a different nature. They had a kitchen that specially prepared food for each athlete, there was training room with massage available, there was a snack bar that only had healthy foods and drinks, a film room to study films on your sport, and of course, a pretty amazing gym.
I’m not talking a “Gold’s Gym” or one of the fancy pants gyms that most of us would probably agree….well…they SUCK! But the Throws Center had lifting platforms to do pulls from the floor, heavy Dumbbells and kettlebells, and a row of power racks that stretched the length of the gym. There were all kinds of equipment, but none of them focused on biceps! This was a place to lift and get strong, explosive, and powerful. Not a place to admire yourself in the mirror!
I still prefer old school, and to be honest, I don’t think I could ever afford Godina’s place, but still, it was quite an experience. John Godina was a genuinely nice guy and I’m excited to be doing a story on him, and his training facility blew away the Olympic training center in quality all the way around. Quite a place and one that I think any USAWA’er could enjoy.