NOTE: listen to a long-form version of our interview with Maggie Malone during the bottom half of the noon hour Tuesday on Ol' Red 99-5 and KWBE. Check back in the afternoon for a link to the full interview.
GENEVA, NE — Southeast Nebraska’s Olympian is back in the United States.
Geneva native Maggie Malone returned from Tokyo a couple weeks ago after finishing 10th in women’s javelin. She failed to advance past the prelims in Rio in 2016 but qualified for the finals this time and posted a top throw just under 60 meters.
She reflected on her experience with our Michael Shively and revealed her trip to Tokyo almost never happened. Stress after the Rio Games had her considering quitting the sport.
“I had really put all of my identity in a number that I thought made me worthy of something. When that didn’t happen in the 2016 Olympics, I thought that I had failed on such an epic level," Malone said. "I was embarrassed, I thought that I wasn’t worth anything, that I was a fraud… so through a ton of counseling, a lot of Christian people pouring into me and a lot of work on my side - I was able to really separate Maggie Malone from Maggie Malone the javelin thrower.”
Malone credits what she calls her ‘Avengers Team’ for her comeback and recent success. She surrounds herself with a group of experts to keep her focused and prepared.
Still, Malone left Tokyo wanting more. She says two of her warmup throws were good enough to earn a medal, but she let pressure get to her head during the unusually long break before the finals. By then, she was too tense to throw her best. Now, she knows how to plan for an international final.
“I’m taking things from athletes that I really respect, what they were doing in their process and I’m going to implement in the future," Malone said. "I know where I missed and I know that I can be on that podium with the abilities that God has given me, if that is His will. My strength coach told me after, ‘there’s a rule in life, win or learn.’ I definitely took that as a learning opportunity and I’m going to take that into 2024.”
Malone plans to throw in the world championships each of the next two years… and if things go well, compete in the Paris Games in 2024.
If you’re wondering, the Fillmore Central graduate says, despite moving around during and after her college days, she identifies as a Nebraskan whenever she’s asked where she’s from.