Dream Team: Olympic shot put hopeful coached by wife


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Joe Kovacs is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the shot put. He’s also a favorite for another medal in Tokyo.

From the weight room to the throwing circle to the kitchen, it’s hard to find Joe without his wife, Ashley too far away.

That’s because the two aren’t just husband and wife. They are also athlete and coach.

“It really kicked off in 2017 after a U.S. Championships,” explains Joe about the beginning of their relationship. “We started talking. She sent me a bottle of almond butter that she made for me. I brought it to the World Championships back in 2017 and came back with a silver medal for it. Because of all that talking and that almond butter, I packed up all my things and came here to Ohio. So it was worth it.”

The two were married in 2018 and Ashley became his coach months later, to go along with her job as a throwing coach at The Ohio State Univeristy. And their partnership works. In 2019, Joe won gold in the shot put at the World Championships.

“I see it more of a consulting thing,” said Ashley. “Joe knows more about the sport than anybody and I definitely learned just as much or probably more from him than he’s learned from me, I would argue, but it’s been really good and it works really well.”

During quarantine, Ashley and Joe never stopped training. Whether in the snow or in their basement, the work continued.

And while Joe may be the shot put star, Ashley is the queen of the kitchen, making meal after meal, allowing Joe to always preform at a high level.

“I just cook big for a big guy,” said Ashley. “I really enjoy cooking for him. He’s really gracious. And he really enjoys my food. It doesn’t feel like work. I enjoy doing it.”

“She’s always trying something and experimenting,” said Joe. “And that’s what fun for me because especially with the quantity I have to eat, it can get very monotonous so the food is not only delicious but it changes so much and the flavors and the palates, I’m in heaven.”

Now heading into their first Olympic prep as a team, the Kovacs, or “Throvacs” as they are nicknamed, are confident in their training and excited for what’s to come.

“I had the best Fall I’ve ever had in my training and I hope this Spring, I say the same thing about that because if that training is that good, we’re getting on that team. We’re coming back with a medal,” said Joe.

“Everything is trending the right way. So we just think if it keeps going that way, there’s no reason he’s not going to do better than he’s ever done,” said Ashley. “If he does better than he’s ever done, then I think everybody’s in trouble.”

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