Price and her priceless coach form a winning combo!
DeAnna Price, the first US woman thrower to win a world title, credits her husband-coach John lambert for the success.
Behind every successful man, there is a woman, goes the adage.
But the opposite is right in the case of DeAnna Price, the first American woman to win a throwing event at the IAAF World Championships.
John Lambert, her husband and coach, has been a constant guiding force in the 26-year-old’s life. At the Khalifa International Stadium as Price went for the gold, Lambert, seated in the gallery, talked to her, giving her tips and calming her nerves.
Price’s first throw of 76.87M itself would have fetched her the gold medal but when she fouled her second, she grew agitated. Lambert spoke to her from the stands and it had an immediate effect, with her next attempt — 77.54M — being the winning distance.
“I could see she was agitated. She was walking around and stressfully bouncing off the ground. I gestured to her to sit down, breathe fast and calm down. I didn’t want her to waste energy. She may have had a foul, but there were still four more throws left. In the end, it all worked out well,” Lambert told Inside Qatar.
Price and Lambert form just one of the many husband-wife coaching partnerships in international sport. Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu and Shane Tusup, retired St Kits and Nevis sprinter Kim Collins and Paula and Canadian cyclist Emily Batty and Adam Morka are some others.
Price and Lambert met in 2009 while they were students at the Southern Illinois University. She married Lambert, two years her senior, in October ’11, and four years later, he took over as her coach. It has been a fruitful partnership.
“My earlier coach moved out after gaining employment elsewhere. John (Lambert) had finished college by then and wanted to coach me. So he took charge in September ’15. It was a wise move because now, I’m world champion,” she said.
The easy camaraderie that exists between them was on full display following her medal ceremony. The duo cracked jokes and kept pulling the other’s leg. Was this fun dynamic that helped her scale new heights?
“The most important thing is we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help when the other is down. After practise sessions, we leave coaching troubles back on the field. We don’t take them home. We try to keep the coach-pupil and husband-wife relationship as separate as possible. It’s worked so far,” Price said, holding her husband tight.
Price said it took her some time to realise the enormity of her achievement.
“I knew no one from Team USA had won women’s hammer throw gold at the Worlds. What I didn’t know was that it was also a first for American women’s throws. The first thing I did was to give a long flying kiss to my husband, up there in the stands,” she said.
Reaching the pinnacle was not easy, given the physical challenges she had to endure. Price, who has only one kidney, has also suffered multiple injuries including a dislocated shoulder, fractured shoulder blade, a torn stomach muscle and torn knee ligaments.
She credited her husband for standing by her through thick and thin.
“He picked me up when I was down in the dumps. He helped me achieve everything in life. I don’t know where I would’ve been without his help,” she said.