Athletics News

Ethan Katzberg: The Pride of Kamloops

Ethan Katzberg: The Pride of Kamloops

This is Elliott Denman’s third column. The 89 year old is writing remotely, and this is the first time he has missed a World Champs since 1983! 

Ethan Katzberg:

The Pride of Kamloops


The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush began in Canada’s southeast British Columbia in 1858 and raged on and on for decades.

Don’t you remember?

All this was very big news “back in the day,” as they say.

Nearby all that, BC’s Kamloops was incorporated in 1893 and became the HQ city for all those seeking instant riches.

Well, here it is, 130 years have flown, and Kamloops is again generating golden global headlines.

Credit a 21-year-old resident named Ethan Katzberg for putting his adopted hometown back up there in the bright lights.

He’s a very big guy – maybe even still growing – of 6-feet-6 and

240 pounds – who has been one of the biggest – maybe even “THE

BIGGEST” – upset winners thus far at the 19th World Championships of Track and Field now raging in Budapest.

With his monster 81.25/ 266-7 hammer throw in the fifth round of the event in Hungary, the long-haired, mustachioed Katzberg turned all those pre-Worlds form charts into hearty heapings of goulash. All at once, he set an all-time Canadian record and a World 21-and-under record and was the youngest-ever hammer medalist at Worlds while showing the youthful potential to eventually challenge the “ancient” world record of 86.74/284-7 set by the Soviet Union’s Yuriy Sedykh all the way back in 1986

A mere 2.38 meters separated him from the World meet record of 83.63 set by Belarus’s Ivan Tikhon at Osaka in 2007.

Needless to say, not very long after that monster toss plopped into the National Athletics Center Stadium turf, and a few minutes more until the sixth and final round was in the books, there was major “Khaos in Kamloops.”

Pardon that misspelling, but, it seems, they have been playing around with linguistics in that part of Canada for quite some time,

With the name of the town itself, for instance.

Katzberg’s now-home haunts were once indigenous Native Canadian territory.

Pre-eminent (as Wikipedia tells us) was the Shuswap Tribe, and their language was termed Tk’amlups. From Tk’amlups came Kamloops, and from Kamloops to Badapest, half a world away, came Ethan Katzberg.

His 81.25 winner surely stunned the global elite, who never really reckoned him to be a leading world candidate.

Hungary, of course, has had a distinguished history in…

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