WATCH AAU JUNIOR OLYMPIC GAMES LIVE ON FLOTRACK
Amelia Flynt is beginning to find a love for track and field, throwing in particular. And for that, perhaps, she can tip her cap to her parents, Dagmar Pesakova and Darren Flynt, who buried the seed long ago and waited for it to bloom.
For a long time, though, both worried about the pressures that came with being the eldest offspring of two former collegiate throwers. Amelia, 14, found her way in time, though it came after her parents divorce in 2011, and it wasn't until 17 months ago when she first began to throw.
Still, Flynt, who's a native of Katy, Texas, qualified for her second straight AAU Junior Olympic Games after a superb outing at the AAU Region 17 meet, tossing PBs of 123-3 in the discus, which ranks No. 2 nationally in the 13-14 division, and 46-5 in the shot put, which also ranks No. 2.
Unfortunately, Flynt won't be attending the meet -- she'll be overseas in the Czech Republic, where she'll be getting dual-citizenship with her two other siblings. Her mother became a dual-citizen of the United States in 2014.
"I had an amazing experience with being an athlete and competing internationally," Pesakova said. "I have always thought that it would be something in the future for them."
Pesakova, 45, is a native of the Czech Republic and threw for the country during her prime, just missing the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta after solid careers at the University of Nebraska, where she met Darren, and at Azusa Pacific, where the two transferred to finish their collegiate careers.
"For me, track taught me discipline," Pesakova said. "It has allowed me this incredible opportunity of getting an education from America, which is priceless. I'm extremely grateful for that."
Darren Flynt walked-on to Nebraska after a standout prep career in California and later won a national record in the hammer throw at Azusa Pacific, before the pair were married soon after. He tried to get Pesakova, who set a NAIA national record at Azusa in the discus, to the Olympics in 1996, but found that process difficult.
"Even if she made the qualifying mark, they wouldn't let her go," Darren said. "They said they had a policy where they wouldn't send an athlete to the Olympics who wasn't likely to medal. We offered to drive and pay our own way, but they said no."
The pair eventually settled down in Texas and began to start a family before later figuring out a way to work together through divorce and raise their children.
But at first it wasn't easy.
Darren, who is the Chief Information Officer of a company in the Katy area, was only given every other weekend and a Wednesday night dinner to spend time with his kids. At first Amelia didn't really have an interest for sports, either.
"She didn't really want anything to do with track and field for a long time," Darren said. "So I kind of left track and field during that time."
By 11, however, Amelia stated to test it out in spurts.
"She hated it," Darren said. "She thought it was boring, this and that."
Dagmar may have suggested Amelia give a round of sports a chance, Darren said, which led to Amelia competing in middle school.
"She only threw for about a month and a half and she did well, so I found out about AAU and USATF youth meets and basically she decided to continue her season by doing those meets," Darren said. "She started to thrive from that point."
Darren also found a connection. Soon enough, he was coaching his daughter and developing a solid relationship through track.
"It's become a thing we've bonded over," he said. "In the beginning, Dagmar wasn't able to be involved because she's a teacher, but as of late it's been neat because she and I have been able to come to practice. It's more the two of us coaching her." Soon Dagmar was able to free up time, too.
"I like to watch her and see what she needs from me," Dagmar said. "That's when I respond. I always step back and look at it from a couple ways. What spirit is she in? Whatever guidance I can help her with and then I may have guidance, too. Its' really exciting watching her. She's picking up the discus much better than I did at her age."
A year ago, Amelia qualified for the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Humble, Texas, finishing fourth in the discus (1kg), throwing a final mark of 104-0. She fouled out of the shot put.
Darren has always held a strong belief that sports creates character.
"Sports mimic life and it teaches you how to create goals and how to work toward them," he said. "...I think sports is a big part of me having the success I've had at work."
Sometimes, yet, Darren has to take a step back, too. At the AAU Region meet, for instance, he was extremely proud of Amelia's throws -- once Amelia reaches high school in the fall at Cinco Ranch, her marks should be competitive with most of her peers.
"I'm excited obviously," he said. "To be honest, I battle in my mind whether I'm the parent who's trying to live through her. I tell myself I'm not that parent, that I'm just extremely happy for the success he's having, but it's somewhere in the middle to be honest. Amelia is set up for success way better than we were and I see her, she's so internally motivated."
Darren and Pesakova are quickly finding that track is helping their co-parenting as well.
"I think over the last month or so that's gelled," Darren said. "We agreed on what her training should be and we're settling into the coaching cues we're giving her."
As Amelia progresses throughout her next four years in high school, both parents have a huge hand in helping their daughter succeed.
And one thing is for sure.
"Throwing is in Amelia's genes," Darren said.
Better yet, she has a love for it now, too.
To contact National Content Producer Cory Mull, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @bycorymull