If there was any doubt about Kara Winger’s intention to retire from women’s javelin competitions just needed to see her on Thursday.
The Skyview High School grad, after her fifth throw at the Diamond League finals in Zurich, signaled to the on-track camera with a thumbs up and then said “one more.”
It was on her fifth throw that she set the day’s best mark of 64.98 meters (213 feet) that would not be beat in round six and Winger went out on top with her first Diamond League trophy.
Winger had announced her intentions to retire from competition prior to the World Championships that were held in July at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
“I have to see how I feel, but at this point, I’m not changing my decision on retirement,” Winger said after the competition, adding how “amazing” it was to have her husband Russ as coach this final season.
“I have been to Zurich like four times and it was always fantastic. But there was something special about today,” Winger said. “I felt like the entire stadium was with me. I felt like I had so many friends with me. The season was like — disbelief.”
It’s been a whirlwind last three months that saw Winger win a silver medal at worlds, winning the continental crown in the Bahamas, and then winning the Diamond League meet in Belgium in which she qualified for the Diamond League final with an American-record throw of 68.11 (223-5).
In all, Winger leaves the 2022 season — and career — with the American record (for a second time) and world’s best mark for the season.
Not a bad finish for the four-time U.S. Olympian from Vancouver.
Thursday’s competition was a wire-to-wire victory for Winger as she had the best throw after the first round of 61.36 meters (201 feet).
She improved on her second throw with a mark of 63.81 (209) and bettered that mark with her fifth-round throw of 64.98. As the last thrower over the final three rounds, Winger clinched the diamond trophy when her two closest competitors — Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia and Haruka Kitaguchi of Japan — could not surpass her fifth-round mark on their final throws.
Winger finished up with one final throw that went 63.51 (208).
“I just wanted to have a good time and it turned out to be the best season of my life,” Winger said. “I know it was absolutely everything and I am so grateful for what I did because we worked really hard for this and I just cannot believe it. It was magic.”
And again, if there was any doubt of coming back in 2023, there was this she posted Thursday morning on Twitter with an action blur photo of her throwing: “It’s been a fabulous blur, track & field. Really, a life-defining, irreplaceable, horizon-expanding, treasured blur. I’ll miss you.”