Ashland University Strength & Conditioning Coach A.G. Kruger has been on the international stage many times.
He is a three-time United States Olympian, and he will make his fifth appearance at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships later this month in Beijing, China.
Old hat? Not quite. The competitive fires still burn red hot.
"If it wasn't, I wouldn't be doing it anymore," said Kruger, training for a shot at a fourth Olympics spot in 2016. "I still get excited to do what I do. It's such a great thing to do and it's exciting. Even though I haven't had the success I've wanted to (at Worlds), I still get to do it. When I wake up in the morning, that's what I still think about."
Kruger's top effort of 2015 – 76.87 meters (252-feet-2) – came in Ashland during the 2015 Ashland Summer Series. At the 2015 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., his top mark was 76.01 meters (249-feet-4).
"Training-wise, I feel really good in where I am," Kruger said. "My body feels good. It gives me about the best opportunity I've had to compete."
His previous international experience – including past IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland (2005); Osaka, Japan (2007); Berlin, Germany (2009) and Moscow, Russia (2013) – means factors such as time change may not come into play as much.
"You get used to it right when you go out there," Kruger said. "You've got the 12-hour difference, which can play with your head. I'll have a full week to adjust, and I'll be perfectly fine.
"My first goal is to get out of qualifying and get into finals. I have to get out there…let it loose, have fun with it and relax."
Kruger, former AU standout Kibwe Johnson and Conor McCullough will represent the United States in the hammer throw in Beijing – meaning two-thirds of the American men's hammer throw contingent will have Eagle ties.
"We always get along real well," Kruger said of Johnson. "It always helps when there are people around you know. It's good that that's still there. Even though we have a little bit of a rivalry, it's good because it pushes us."
As for what comes after Beijing for Kruger, he said that's easy – take time off, try to become as normal a person as possible and then get ready for 2016.
Qualification Group A in the men's hammer will compete Aug. 21 at 9:30 p.m. Eastern (Aug. 22 at 9:30 a.m. in Beijing), while Qualification Group B will go Aug. 21 at 10:55 p.m. Eastern (Aug. 22 at 10:55 a.m. locally). The finals will be Aug. 23 at 6:30 a.m. Eastern (Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Beijing).