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Big throws at a big show — Benedictine hosts world class track and field athletes June 9

Palos Heights' Tom Pukstys is an assistant Olympic coach who will bring in some top field athletes to Lisle in June.  (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

Palos Heights' Tom Pukstys is an assistant Olympic coach who will bring in some top field athletes to Lisle in June. (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

A few weeks before some of the best shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throwers in the country try out for the London Olympics in July, they will be heading to Lisle to put on a show.

Palos Heights’ Tom Pukstys, a former Olympian who will coach the United States in the summer, and Benedictine University assistant track coach Alex Heacock organized the Chicagoland Summer Throws Event, which takes place at 10 a.m. June 9 at Benedictine. The event, sponsored by Flexeon rehabilitation clinics, is free to the public and Pukstys is fired up about it.

“Anyone who is a track fan who never saw a javelin thrown over 180 feet is going to see 275-feet javelin throws,” Pukstys said. “It’s going to be shocking.”

Some of the athletes scheduled to compete are 2009 U.S. javelin champion Chris Hill, 2010 champ Sean Furey and Corey White, who has one of the top 10 throws in the world this year.

Tom Pukstys, top, helps train Manhattan's Jonathan Simmons during a recent workout. (Photo submitted)

Pukstys, a two time Olympian and six-time U.S. javelin throwing champion, is a former Stagg High School standout who attended the College of DuPage and the University of Florida.

He finished 10th in the Olympics in 1992 and eighth in 1996. He was hoping for a huge showing in 2000 but said he injured his shoulder on the last throw of the last meet before the U.S. Championships and that wiped out his chances for the Olympics.

“That was a wound that was still opened (for awhile) but that wound is closed now,” he said.

In February, 2011, he was named as the assistant coach for throws for Team USA after years of coaching at national and international events and that more than helped close the wound.

“I found out on a Friday night when I read an e-mail on my phone and I think I jumped and hit my head on the ceiling,” he said. “I don’t think I hit the ground after a few minutes. I floated around my house in awe.”

Pukstys is the head of TP Sports, a training center at the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Dome in Lockport. He is changing the name to the MVP Factory on June 2 to “reignite the brand and clarify what I do for the athletes in the general area. Not many trainers in the area are Olympic coaches. That helps.”

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