Harting's three goals for the future | 27.09.2012
He progressed two years later with silver at the Osaka World Championships and was placed fourth at the Beijing Olympics a year after that. In his hometown of Berlin 2009 he really got into his stride by claiming world gold, but then suffered a mild hiccup by only taking silver in the Barcelona Europeans.
Barcelona was a bit like a fifth round sleeper before the big explosion in round six because since 2010 Harting has been the original unstoppable juggernaut going gold, gold and gold in the major championships. You might well wonder what is left for him to achieve. Well, two challenges as it happens. One is to set a new unbroken winning streak and the second is the world record.
"The win-streak is a secondary goal, of course, and it is naturally important to remain healthy and maintain a level of performance to achieve that," Harting told the German sports agency, SID. "If I overtake the 38 win-streak record, then at least I have one of the records I can get, so at least I have got one." Currently, Harting's unbeaten record stands at a tantalising 33.
The other goal is 26-year-old and belongs to another German from the former GDR, Jürgen Schult, who threw the implement to 74.08m in Neubrandenburg in 1986 for what is still the world record. "It's been around for a long time," commented Harting. "In sport anything is possible and I shall believe that to the end. But the world record is not the kind of mark I measure myself against and you can't train for it anyway."
For the record, Harting's PB stands at 70.66m that he set in May this year. But there are other rivals around who have in the past come closer to Schult's mark. Standing second on the all-time list is Lithuania's Virgilius Alekna, now 40, who fell just 30cm short in 2000. Then there is the Beijing gold medallist from Estonia, Gerd Kanter, 33,who threw 73.38 six years ago. Harting stands at 17th on that list so there is plenty of scope for improvement.
A third goal, which he has already talked about, is to retain the Olympic title in four years' time: "No question, of course Rio is a goal," asserts Harting who will be 28 next month.
"My main aim is to lie on the beach with a medal round my neck. Gold would be great of course, but you can't just project the status quo into the future because there will be new rivals and new circumstances. There are many things you cannot foresee."