Bookout hasn't given up on his Olympic dream
Former Sooner working on goal of 2012 Games

by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 8, 2008 at 1:00 am •  Published: July 8, 2008
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NORMAN — Kevin Bookout could relax by hitting a 1.6-ounce ball.

Instead, he throws a 16-pound one.

Days as a two-sport standout at Oklahoma have given way to days as a medical supply salesman for DePuy Spine. Instead of shooting baskets and watching video, he peddles rods and screws used in spinal fusion surgeries.

And yet, Bookout still runs and lifts and throws every day.

The shot put and the discus are his release.

"This is just like going out and playing golf to me,” he said. "This is what I love doing.”

Not so long ago, Bookout was supposed to be doing it at the 2008 Olympics. The Stroud High phenom became an All-American at OU. Going for Olympic glory seemed like the next step.

But over the weekend when the U.S. Olympic trials concluded, Bookout was absent not only from the team but also from the trials. He was working out in Norman instead, running laps and lifting weights and rebuilding his throwing technique.

So, where do his Olympic dreams stand?

They're on solid footing, albeit four years behind schedule.

"It was always more realistic,” Bookout said of going to the 2012 Olympics. "Let's say I wouldn't have played basketball in college ... I would've had a legit shot this past week. Playing basketball really did set me back.”

Not that Bookout regrets playing basketball. He loved it so much, in fact, that he returned to it last year. He finished his basketball eligibility in the spring of 2006, but because of shoulder surgery that forced him to redshirt a track season, he still had two years of track eligibility remaining.

As he threw during that next year or so, he started to miss basketball.

He started to wonder, too.

"What if I play?” he thought.

The professional opportunities in basketball are plentiful. Even though only a select few play in the NBA, so many other players cash checks from minor-league teams and international leagues.

Basketball seemed bountiful.

Track?

Not so much.

All of the nation's top throwers were in their 30s, the age when most hit their peak. Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa and Co. were sure to be stiff competition for the Olympic team, and with a limited number of spots — there are only three qualifiers in each event — Bookout had to look realistically at his odds.

"Good chance, I'm not going to make the team,” he thought. "If you don't make the team, it's hard to make a living.”

He decided to return to basketball and figured he could always go back to track.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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Kevin Bookout has reworked his shot put form and is bulking back up in hope of making a run at the 2012 Olympics in London. by BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN

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