Ida Storm can hammer throw two-thirds of a football field and can shot put an 8.8-pound ball more than 40 feet. Calling her intimidating would be an understatement.
While she is known to be a fierce athlete out on the field, the sophomore thrower is nothing but joyous when she steps outside of her competitive state of mind.
“She’s always positive and never negative, which is effective in throwing because if you’re negative, you’re not going to do as well,” said redshirt freshman thrower Jaycee Olsen, who is one of Storm’s closest friends on the team.
The sophomore All-American is considered a rock in the program, with her confidence and optimism permeating throughout the program.
To a blind observer, it would be assumed that UCLA is right in her comfort zone. In reality, she is more than 5,000 miles away from her hometown in Nybro, Sweden.
Only a year ago, the Swede encountered several struggles with transitioning to a new country and a new language. In Sweden, her worst high school subject was English, but she’s been able to improve considerably since moving to California.
“Coach (Mike) Maynard has taken really good care of me and helped me adjust to the American culture,” Storm said.
Olsen has been one of the main observers of Storm’s growth in English. In fact, her skills have improved to the point where slang is a part of her daily diction.
“It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard,” Olsen said. “She’ll say things like, “˜that’s dank’ or “˜that’s awesome.’”
English aside, Storm’s transition to Division I athletics had a few bumps in the road. Fortunately, Maynard has been with her every step of the way.
“He is really awesome, not only technically, but he knows exactly what I need. He tells me where I am and helps me find my own way to throw the hammer,” Storm said.
While struggling at the beginning of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships last season, Maynard coached her out of her nervousness and brought her back into the competition.
Two-time All-American sophomore thrower Alec Faldermeyer has also grown really close to Storm, as they have been competing in the same event for two years.
“It’s the best. I couldn’t ask for a better training partner,” Faldermeyer said.
“If Ida gets a personal record, I have to get a personal record too and try to match Ida; or if one of us wins a meet, the other one has to.”
Storm, who started track and field at a local club in her hometown, did not pick up the hammer right away. It was not until her freshman year that she began practicing the hammer and found out right away that she loved it.
She went on to compete at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships in 2010 and has had two All-American seasons here at UCLA. Earlier this season, Storm earned second place in the NCAA Indoor Championships and broke her own Swedish national record and UCLA school record in the weight throw.
Storm is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA for the hammer throw, with a lifetime-best throw of 217-06 achieved two weeks ago at the Mt. SAC Relays, which places her mark as the No. 2 mark in UCLA history.