Johannes Vetter – hands in the stars, feet on the ground / Johannes Vetter – Hände in den Sternen, Füße auf dem Boden by Jan-Henner Reitze/Article in leichtathletik.de
At the DM in Erfurt, seven athletes were national first. Some of them are among the “new faces” of the scene, others rewarded themselves for believing in themselves despite setbacks. One of the new masters marched right up to the top of the world: javelin thrower Johannes Vetter (LG Offenburg).
His title of the year: German champion, German record holder, world champion. His distances of the year: Three competitions beyond the 90 meters and five more with throws over the 89-meter mark. Johannes Vetter became the second best javelin thrower in history this year. Due to his extraordinary season, the interest in his person exploded. TV appearances from Morgenmagazin to Tigerenten Club lined up, as well as honors.
His colleagues from German top-class sport voted the 24-year-old “Champion of the Year”, the Goldene Henne as “Rising Star of the Year” stands for the fact that he directs the attention beyond athletes to athletics. As the first DLV athlete ever, the javelin thrower was named “Europe’s Athlete of the Year”. This trophy shows how high his 94.44 meters from Lucerne (Switzerland) can be classified in other disciplines compared to top international performances of the year.
Johannes Vetter enjoys the fact that his dream year has brought the step into the spotlight. At the same time he has returned to everyday life and takes fewer additional appointments true, because the preparation for the coming year has begun. “It is important to stay on the ground, otherwise I have to put concrete in his feet,” says his coach Boris Obergföll, who, however, sees no reason to take action in this direction. “At the moment this is not necessary. John stays like he is. I like that.”
Change to Offenburg starts steep climb
The change from his hometown of Dresden to Offenburg is the background to the rise of Johannes Vetter, who has been climbing steeply since 2014. Even on the threshold of the absolute world’s best, the javelin thrower did not falter, but also penetrated this limit at a constant speed.
This was made possible by his courage and his determination, because he left his home for a restart in southern Germany behind him. A decision not without risk. In Dresden, he had attended the sports gymnasium, 2011 with best performance (71.60 m) reached the final of the U20 European Championship and set the course towards competitive sport. Training with the National Police created a career framework after school and the spear kept approaching the 80-meter mark. However, the athlete did not feel all around in Dresden as a sporting home, so he decided to restart with Boris Obergföll.
Walk through with five-meter increments
This decision turned out to be a direct hit. Johannes Vetter fit perfectly in Offenburg in a proven system that had already spawned two javelin world champions. With Christina Obergföll, the then 21-year-old junior athlete had an experienced world-class athlete at his side, from whom he could learn. Boris Obergföll’s environment of training concept, scientific and medical care, which has been built up for many years, fits well with Johannes Vetter.
Above all, the continual improvement in technology brought five-meter increases in top performance year on year (2014: 79.75 m, 2015: 85.40 m, 2016: 89.57 m, 2017: 94.44 m) , Related to this was the march in international business from seventh place at the 2015 World Cup to fourth place in 2016 on the golden throne of the 2017 World Champion.
The golf ball as a key to the world title
Johannes Vetter and his trainer Boris Obergföll attribute the fact that he was able to increase his level so much again last summer to a more speed-oriented training which, in collaboration with the team of Dr. Ing. Frank Lehmann is perfected at the Institute for Applied Training Science (IAT) in Leipzig and is an important component of the success of the entire DLV spear throwing team.
During the course of the season, Johannes Vetter has thrown more golf (50 g) and baseball balls (140 g) in training, which are lighter than his competition spear (800 g) – by the way against the wall, because on the one hand the sports field for distances of 140 meters is too short and without retrieval and search actions more repetitions in a short time are possible. Olympic champion Thomas Röhler (LC Jena) has been relying on this speed-oriented training design for some time. The third German 90-meter javelin thrower Andreas Hofmann (MTG Mannheim) also pursues this approach.
All three are not yet at the end of their technical potential. And although changes at this level are no longer recognizable to the layman, they make up a lot on a 90-meter flight. The entire team is highly motivated to continue the successful work of recent years.
After honors marathon again 110 percent in training
Johannes Vetter has made up his mind to give 110 percent despite training around his person in training. After last season’s preparations for the season began with a three-month training course at the German Armed Forces in Hanover, the training phase geared towards athletics started in Offenburg this time. The best prerequisites for being on top of the training start in this area compared to the previous year.
After the exciting weeks, the most important thing is to stay healthy. Here, too, there is potential for optimization, because back problems had forced changes in the training plan in March. The preparation for summer 2017 was not trouble-free.
In order to prevent complaints, there is a constant exchange between trainer, athlete and medical team. In the daily balancing act of maximizing the stress limit of the body and moving it upwards as far as possible, it is not easy to distinguish between ailments and warning signals. This is even more true in the javelin throw, which is particularly stressful for ligaments and joints, than in other disciplines. Against this background, it becomes clear why Johannes Vetter spoke of a team effort after his World Cup title.
Offenburg Athletic Training Center – Home of Champions
Collection of titles still incomplete, world record not omnipresent topic
Even though the World Champion was celebrated this year, with the Olympic victory as a long-term goal and the upcoming European home championship, there are attractive goals that are worth keeping a focus on. Especially since Johannes Vetter, with his two victories at the ISTAF in the past two years, each with just under 90 meters with Berlin already special memories.
His goal for 2018 is to reach a level like last summer. Of course, it would be best if his spear flies over the 90 meters at the annual peak in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Even widths clearly beyond that should be possible again. Since there were no optimal wind conditions at his German record and reserves are also available in the technology, an even greater width than 94.44 meters is not excluded.
However, the German champion will not chase a new German record or even the world record (98.48 m) – just as little as he hunted the 90 meters. Such days as his record-breaking competition in Lucerne with four personal bests in succession can not be planned.
Status as number one far from safe
The strong competition in their own camp is another reason why Johannes Vetter should not rest on his laurels. The seasonal highlights were at the end of the summer and the Offenburger then walked as a celebrated hero on the red carpets. It is easy to forget that Thomas Röhler dominated the first half of the season in 2017 and also had three competitions with throws beyond 90 meters.
Seen over the summer, the duels of the two record 7: 7 went out. And in addition to the other strong DLV athletes, the strong Czechs with best performance at the season’s highlight have thwarted the almost logical German doubles on the World Cup podium after the course of the summer.
The high national and international level in the javelin not only means that the past victories are particularly valuable for Johannes Vetter. But it also means that it will be particularly difficult for us to defend his top position. Some winners of this constellation have already been decided: the spectators and the athletics as a whole, which attracts attention due to the star competition.