Local former Olympian reflects, weighs in on Olympic games - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Local former Olympian reflects, weighs in on Olympic games

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Spanning from the Montreal games in 1976 to Barcelona in 1992, Los Osos resident and Cal Poly alumna Karin Smith was part of five different Olympic teams.

Throwing javelin was her life.

"It's the pinnacle. It's everything you've worked for, and whenever you're training you go 'three more reps because I have to try to make the Olympic team!' When you finally make it there, you're pinching yourself the whole time," said Smith.

Her dedication was clear to anyone who trained with her, like former Cal Poly track and field athlete Danella Barnes-Penman.

"She dedicated her whole life to it. I chose Cal Poly because Karin was there. There was just no one better to train with," said Penman.

Smith finished as high as 8th in the 1976 Montreal games and the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

The Cal Poly alumna now helps coach at Cuesta College and Los Osos Middle School along with substitute teaching.

"I coached a kid to the Olympic trials and that was really exciting to see her compete," said Smith.

She remembers her time on the runway like it was yesterday but recognizes the changes to the Olympic games over the decades.

Smith says the internet and social media can play a big role in distracting athletes and adding more pressure.

"I think being wired like that or really attached to it nowadays, kids on the team can just see right away what they did wrong, there's feedback right away," said Smith.

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