Waltzing To Victory: An Interview With Luke Bryant
Luke Bryant was on the track team at OU and is currently ranked 6th in the nation. He won big 12 in the discus his freshman and senior years. He also won third at NCAA, and made it to the Olympic trials his senior year. Sitting down in Luke Bryant’s bedroom where dozens of trophies line the walls and shelves, said he first picked up the discus almost by accident.
So for me when I was in the 6th grade, I did football and basketball. Those were my main sports, and I wanted to go ahead and do something in spring. So I wasn’t ever really fond of baseball or all those other sports so I thought well I’ll go out for track and it will keep me in shape for football and basketball. So I started picking it up and my first event was the discus and I started throwing it, and I wasn’t that bad in the 7th grade, so I kind of stuck with that for a little bit and really started focusing on it later on in my high school years and just kind of went from there.
When was the moment that you realized that you were actually pretty good, like it was something you could do for the rest of your life?
I would say probably it was my sophomore year and I was doing football basketball and track and I really didn’t practice that much in track. And I got 2nd in the Kansas state meet, that’s where I’m originally from. So, kind after that it kind of opened my eyes to, wow I got 2nd in the state meet and I never really practice, and you know, if I really put my heart into it I can really go far.
Do you have any um, stories of like advice you’ve gotten along the way that really helped you?
I’ve definitely got a lot of advice along the way, one of my mentors is really my coach here at OU, Brian Blutick, and he is a great technical coach and that’s a large aspect of throwing is really seeing, being technically sound and really going back to the fundamentals of the event, and I think that’s obviously a big thing but also, just being really dedicated. And I really think sometimes if you want to be good at something you have to be different and you have to look outside the box and not fit the mold.
You told me an interesting story before this about some guy that told you you to do the waltz…
Well what it was, um, after my sophomore year in high school I went and worked with John Powel who is a former world record holder in the discus, and one of the first thing we did at his camp, when I started working with him, he said if you want to be a great discus thrower you got to learn how to waltz. So I thought he was joking until he puts on Mozart, or whatever he put on (I mean I couldn’t tell you what it is), Um but he puts that on at like 9 at night and he comes up and puts his arms around me, and uh, we started waltzing, and I thought it was a joke at first but he said if you really want to be a good discus thrower you got to be able to be light on your feet and be coordinated, and be able to do the small footwork. I think that was something that was really interesting, waltzing at 9:00 on a Friday night with a 40 year old man but, I think its really paid off for my discus throwing at it’s also paid off with the ladies, they definitely love the waltzing.
I want to go back to the beginning because we missed a very important part of your past; you grew up on a farm. So tell me a little bit about that.
Yeah I think growing up on a farm and outside of a small town which was only like 22 hundred people, and then it was outside of Wichita, I think really shaped the person I am today; a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication that we had to do growing up. I remember as a kid, we would have cattle that would have calves in the middle of winter so it would be like 20 degrees out and it would be sleeting or snowing and my dad would wake me up at like one in the morning and we’d have to go out and you know, pull the calf. I mean it was just a lot of stuff of, a lot of hard work, weather we were bailing hay, moving hay bails. I mean it just taught me a lot about working hard and work ethic and putting yourself out there and dedicating.
Luke’s goal is to make the 2013 world championship team in June and ultimately go on to the Olympics in 2016. However while training for the Olympics he still plans on going to school at OU and pursuing his dream in College Athletic administration.