EUGENE, Ore. — Growing up in the small town of Lawson, Missouri, Janee’ Kassanavoid never imagined she’d be competing for a spot on Team USA’s Olympic track and field team.
But she’ll do just that in the qualifying round of the women’s hammer throw Thursday afternoon.
“I’m excited to be here. I can’t say what’s going to happen. I’m just going go out, give it my all and have fun with it,” Kassanavoid told FOX4.
Kassanavoid is a life-long athlete. She played volleyball, basketball and softball when she was younger.
The Lawson native used to consider track and field the activity that would keep her in shape for her main sports.
That was until she earned a scholarship for the discus and shot put to attend Johnson County Community College.
“When it came down to picking a school for college, I wasn’t going to go the athletic route and was just going to do culinary. Hanging up the shoes with athletics and be done with it,” Kassanavoid said.
Kassanavoid’s coaches at JCCC introduced her to the hammer.
“The first time I held it in my hands and I was like ‘what is this thing?’ Picked it up very well and ended up being the NJCAA champion that spring for Johnson County. Then that turned into, after a year at Johnson County, I transferred K-State,” Kassanavoid said.
Kassanavoid enjoyed a successful career at both JCCC and Kansas State University.
During her time in Manhattan, Kansas, she won a Big 12 Championship in the hammer throw and was a three-time All-American.
Kassanavoid also holds a school record.
The 26-year-old turned professional in 2019, already has experience competing at the highest levels.
Making the Olympic team would be a dream come true.
“Top three is definitely something that I’ve been having my eyes on. I have full confidence that I’m able to do and accomplish it,” Kassanavoid said.
Kassanavoid’s qualifying round start at 3:25 p.m. central. If she advances to the finals, she will compete again on Saturday.