An hour and a half after his event was completed, Sean Furey still sounded breathless.
Who could blame him?
The former Methuen High All-American had just qualified for the Olympic Games in the javelin.
"People put Olympians on a pedestal," said the 29-year-old San Diego-based engineer. "I was just stupid enough to keep going. Plenty of people could have made it. I've been so lucky to have the family and the opportunity to keep going. I was pigheaded enough to keep progressing."
Don't look for that to change.
"I won't quit until my arm falls off," he said.
Hopefully, that won't be before Aug. 11 ... the day of the Olympic javelin finals! The preliminaries are Aug. 8.
He had a bit of a subpar effort last night in the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. He threw 255 feet, 5 inches for fourth place. That could have been disastrous as the top three qualify. But in the javelin, most elite Americans haven't thrown the Olympic qualifying A standard. Furey made it 21/2 weeks ago with his career best 271-5, the top throw in the country this year.
Sam Humphreys won with a 268-7 yesterday in the damp conditions and Samuel Crouser of the University of Oregon was second with a 265-1. But neither had made the A standard (269 feet) so it was finishers 3-5 who are going to London.
That is 2010 Brown grad Craig Kinsley (262-2), Furey (255-5) and 2010 Oregon grad Cyrus Hostetler (254-8).
The odds of making the jump from hometown hero to Olympian are minuscule, but Furey always believed in himself.
"I guess I was in high school," he said about when he first thought of the Olympics. "After junior year I had a huge personal best to win the state championship. From then on, I just knew I was good.
"My goal was 230 and everyone said it was impossible. Then I said in college 280. I always had huge aspirations. I just knew I wouldn't stop until I'd be an Olympian. It's just weathering the storm. Who can come through the injuries? Who can train enough? How do you make a living? It's a lot more than talent."