Olympic Efforts

Maura Fiamoncini ’21 smashed her own record at U.S. Olympic team trials
by Andrew Faught
At a compact 5 feet, 4 inches, Maura Fiamoncini ’21 isn’t your typical javelin thrower.

“I’m pretty small compared to most of my competitors,” the three-time All-American says. “Most people assume that I’m a runner.”

But don’t let her size fool you. In June, she finished third at the NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., where she hurled a career-best 185 feet, 4 inches on her second throw. That broke her own school record and earned Fiamoncini, of Mount Carmel, Pa., a First-Team All-American citation. She also notched Bucknell’s highest-ever NCAA Championship finish on the women’s side.

Maura Fiamoncini headshot
Photo: Isaac Wasserman
Maura Fiamoncini ’21, at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field, appreciated competing on the national stage.
“I use my size to my advantage, because I feel a lot of my best throws are from my running speed,” notes Fiamoncini, who also borrowed from her mathematics degree to bring geometric precision to her game plan: “A good throw combines angle of release, as well as separation between your hips and upper body.

“Strength isn’t as big of a factor as everybody would think.”

Fiamoncini wrapped up her spectacular 2021 with a seventh-place finish in the javelin at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on June 26.

“Just to make it to the trials was my goal and is unbelievable,” says Fiamoncini, who hopes to work in sports analytics with Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association.

Fiamoncini began competing in the javelin in her first year of high school, back when she might have mistaken the tool of the trade for Gulliver’s toothpick. She knew nothing of the event, whose Olympic origins date back to 1908.

She’d intended to play softball, but her small-town team struggled to find enough players. On a lark, Fiamoncini decided on the javelin, because she likes throwing a ball. It’s been a good fit.

“The javelin always leaves you wanting more,” she says. “I always knew I could throw farther, and it kept me driven even in the best of times.”