Javelin legacy lives on in Glasmann family
Park City family continues to impress in javelin community
March 31, 2017
She stood on the runway with her javelin in hand. Staring down the rubber strip of track in front of her, she began with a few bouncy steps to kick off the throw. With each step, her arm carrying the 7-foot-3 apparatus bounced in unison.
Just as she neared the foul line, she cocked her arm behind her, planted her foot and wound up a throwing motion. Her warm whizzed by her head as she released the javelin at the highest point of the throw.
It flew through the air as if it would never fall to the field. When gravity did its part, the apparatus was a long distance from where it took off. Crew members whipped out the measuring tape to find the thrower produced a new javelin record.
The thrower was Park City native Niki Glasmann, formerly known as Niki Nye, who in 1988 broke the University of Texas record for the javelin event with a throw of 182 feet, 6 inches, a record that still stands to this day.
Or was it Megan Glasmann? Niki's daughter and a former Park City High School graduate, Megan unleashed a throw of 176 feet, 11 inches, a personal-best mark that bested the meet record and placed her No. 3 on the all-time U.S. junior list at the Pan American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia, in 2013.
Perhaps it was Christine — or Chrissy — Glasmann, who followed her sister's footsteps at Park City High School by breaking the state record, previously held by Megan, with a throw of 160 feet, 6 inches at the Pine View Invitational in 2014.
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Each Glasmann, to say the least, has experienced a scenario in which they have broken a javelin record, adding to the legacy the family has created.
"[Javelin throwing is] kind of part of our routine," Niki said. "We're all involved in it. It's just kind of what we do."
The family tree of javelin throwers started with Niki.
After school one day, Niki, in junior high at the time, walked by Roy High School. She was strolling past an open field and noticed some kids throwing what appeared to be a stick. She found it peculiar and just wanted to give it a go.
"I found out that they were throwing the javelin and I just wanted to try it," Niki said. "That's how I got into it."
She had tried other sports — such as softball, basketball and volleyball — but none appealed to her like javelin did.
"Just stuck with it, excelled in it and have shared it with my kids," Niki said.
Megan was 8 years old when she first got her hands on a javelin; Chrissy was 6. Both have grown up to become UHSAA 3A state champions in the javelin at their high school and both extended their careers to the collegiate level: Megan to Stanford and Chrissy to Utah.
The family even boasts some up-and-coming javelin throwers, such as Jaynie, who is in her first season as a high school freshman. Tom, a 12-year-old who attends Ecker Hill Middle School and the youngest of the bunch, also participates in the javelin at USA Track and Field youth events.
Javelin is clearly a family affair, but the kids were never pressured to participate.
"I wanted them to play a variety of sports and figure out what they enjoyed," Niki said. "There's so many different sports out there and we just kind of came back to javelin, it seems like."
Megan, who played other sports like her mother prior to picking up the javelin, just couldn't help but carry on the family name.
"I wouldn't say I was forced into it," Megan said. "You've got a lot of people who are very talented and pass it on to their kids in hopes that they will outlast their legacy and outdo their efforts. The same thing is very true with my family."
Growing up, the Glasmanns remember the days when the family would travel across the country to attend certain track meets. Instead of going to the beach and visiting water parks, Niki and her husband, Tommy, the unsung hero in this family legacy, felt it was important to get her kids the necessary experience.
"We did it as a family," Chrissy said. "My mom would coach, my dad would be there cheering us on and bringing the javelins back to us, and my little brother and sister would be watching. It kind of just took on a life of its own.
"I just remember high school summers, flying from place to place. We would drive through the night to hit track meets. It was always go, go, go."
While the Glasmann kids had their own respective coaches throughout their careers, there's one coach they've shared: their mom. Considering her school-record throw at Texas is the farthest of them all (javelins were built differently and could fly farther back in the day), it's safe to say Niki knows a thing or two about the sport.
"[I never] realized how immensely talented and knowledgeable my mom is as a coach," Megan said. "I mean, I knew that, but I didn't really understand the depth of knowledge and her expertise in the field and her drive. That is unbelievable."
Chrissy shared similar sentiments regarding Niki.
"Honestly, I don't think I'd be a javelin thrower if not for her," Chrissy said. "Just growing up, she was so patient. … She's an amazing coach and really, I miss that. … I don’t think I'd be able to [continue throwing javelin] if it wasn't for the 15 years of coaching me that I've had [from Niki]."
These days, Megan is no longer at Stanford, but rather a second-year PhD student at the University of Utah. She is currently training independently with aspirations of becoming a professional or Olympic athlete. Chrissy is still at the U, where she is in the honors program. She's in her sophomore year as a Ute. She hopes to be a top-three thrower in the Pac-12.
And the youngest two, Jaynie and Tom, continue on through grade school, all while participating in youth javelin competitions when their schedules allow. For the Glasmann family, academics always came first, Niki said, but she's elated to see her love of javelin carried on through a new generation.
"It's a thrill," Niki said. "I just love to watch them throw. It's exciting for me. I love to be there for them and support them. It's just a lot of fun."
Currently, Megan has the longest throw by a junior athlete in Utah history, Chrissy owns the UHSAA 3A state record and Niki has the best throw of them all. With Jaynie and Tom on the way up, the state javelin record book could be renamed to the Glassman Family Record Book when it's all said and done.
"Based on how Park City may be moving up to 4A [next year], our names may all end up staying on the record books, which is really cool in my mind," Megan said. "Even if we are being suppressed, to have that legacy continue is incredible."
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