The ancient Greeks believed in “A sound mind in a sound body.”

Around 775 B.C., the Greeks created the Olympic Games as a means of honoring their gods. The Games were held at Olympia, at the foot of Mount Olympus, where the gods and goddesses were believed to have resided.

Athletic representatives, only men at that time, from all Greek City-States attended the Games, with the intent of bringing glory to themselves as well as their home region. The ancient Games included running, long jump, shot put, javelin, boxing, pankration (a combination of wrestling and boxing) and equestrian events.

The Greek City-State of Sparta, known for its military prowess, consistently ranked as the odds-on favorite to win the javelin event, a weapon most Spartan boys could throw for a very long distance.
As the Rio Olympics begin next month, for the first time in eight years a Pottsville native will not have the opportunity to display his javelin-throwing skills on the world Olympic stage. But his dedication and effort for the past 18 years has been Spartan-like.

Barry Krammes, a 2000 graduate of Pottsville Area High School and a graduate of East Stroudsburg University, tucked away his baseball glove after his sophomore year in high school and picked up the javelin, under the tutelage of Pottsville coach Jack Ruch.

This week, Krammes was disappointed to learn that 24 athletes were selected to compete for three Olympic team slots in the javelin and he fell slightly short, placing 25th.

At age 34, Krammes has earned his place as one of the finest track and field athletes to emerge from Schuylkill County, and although his Olympic dream has passed, his accomplishments and his contributions to the sport he loves will continue.

In high school, Krammes narrowly missed going to the PIAA Track and Field Championships as a junior and a senior, despite flinging the spear a distance of 189 feet.

By the time he was a sophomore at East Stroudsburg University, Krammes had increased his distance to more than 200 feet. As a junior, he increased his best throw to 214 feet, earning him NCAA Division II All-American status.

In 2006, he continued his meteoric rise, throwing 244 feet at the USA National Championships. He was seeded 18th at that meet, but finished fifth. Later that year he competed at an international meet in Birmingham, England, where he placed sixth among the world’s best javelin throwers.

At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, despite suffering with a double hernia, he placed sixth, setting a personal best distance by almost four meters and achieving the Olympic “B” standard.

From 2009-11, Krammes taught and coached at East Stroudsburg South High School. In 2011 he went to Finland to work with the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation, which assists young people interested in the sport to develop their talents with the guidance of expert coaching.

In 2012, at the U.S. Olympic Trials, he threw the javelin a distance of 77.99 meters, the equivalent of almost 256 feet, nearly as long as a football field.

He tied for third place at the 2013 Nationals, making him eligible for the World Championships.
His skill at heaving the spear allowed him to compete in Finland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany.

A devastating knee injury crushed his chances this year, but Krammes is undeterred. Krammes has coached athletes who will compete in the Olympic Trials, he hosts the American Javelin Festival and true to his roots, coaches at The Javelin Factory in Mary D every Sunday.

If you are a young athlete interested in becoming a javelin thrower, you owe it to yourself to contact this champion. You can contact him on his Barry Krammes Facebook page.

Krammes’ philosophy is, “If you have a dream or passion, go after it.”

He’s done so, and now he is sharing his passion with others.