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Thrower’s dreams hinge on June

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PROVO — Welcome to Nik Arrhenius' month of June, where the former BYU

discus thrower has one eye on a travel-packed European itinerary and

the other eye on a specific distance to throw — 64.5 meters.That's 212 feet, 7 inches — or nearly 71 yards, for those more comfortable with football-field dimensions.That's the "A" standard for Olympic qualifying.And that's the distance Arrhenius needs, starting this weekend, to earn

a trip to compete in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, compliments of the

Swedish Olympic Committee.He's done it before — repeatedly in practice sessions earlier this

month with some of the world's best discus throwers at the U.S. Olympic

training center in San Diego. His personal best in competition was done

last year here in the U.S. — a throw of 65.77 meters, more than a meter

farther than the "A" standard.But he needs to throw better than 64.5 this month, in competition, as

he bounces from meet to meet — in Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Turkey,

Finland and back "home" to Sweden the last week of June.No matter that he is the best discus thrower in Sweden, thanks in part

to his father, Anders, creating dual U.S./Swedish citizenship for

Arrhenius and his siblings a dozen years ago, with the former BYU and

Swedish pro shot putter from the 1970s training his children in the

throwing events as they grew up and competed for Orem's Mountain View

High.No matter that Arrhenius is the reigning NCAA outdoors national

champion in the event, having thrown 206 feet, 2 inches at the 2007

nationals, move than a half-foot farther than the Olympic "B" standard

of 62.5 meters, which he has surpassed eight times.No, Swedish Olympic track officials want him to reach the "A" standard

a time or two during June and couple that with some good throws in

other meets during the month in order to earn the Olympic invite.He bemoans a lackluster finish competing for Sweden at the 2007 World

Championships in Osaka, Japan, where a high finish against the best

throwers from across the globe could have all but locked up an Olympic

invite. However, a sub-par distance of 192 feet was only good for 24th

place."Had I would have finished in the top 12, I would have been in the Olympics," Arrhenius said.Sweden doesn't have an Olympic trials meet like what the U.S. and other

countries use to determine their national squad, so June is the month

for Arrhenius to make his mark.The dual citizenship with the United States and Sweden is not just a contrived path to open additional doors for Arrhenius to Olympic and international competition. No, the Swedish roots run strong and deep in his family. My dad, hes one of the biggest fans for Sweden — hockey, soccer, whatever's on, said Arrhenius, who first visited Sweden with his family as a mid-teen and who grew up speaking some Swedish himself.But Arrehnius says his love for Sweden, its people, its language and culture skyrocketed after serving an LDS Church mission in the Sweden Stockholm Mission, just like his older brother, Dan.It should be no wonder, then, that because of his connections, his experiences and Olympic aspirations, callers to Arrhenius' cell phone number are greeted with the Swedish national anthem as a ringback tone.It's been quite a spring for Arrhenius already — the birth of his son,

Erik, on April 8, followed by his departure a couple of weeks later to

train for a month in San Diego, then back in town to spend time with

his family and to pass the GREs before heading off last Monday for

Europe.All said, he'd rather be home with Erik and his wife, Tiffany — also a

former BYU track and field athlete (she threw the javelin) — and

helping younger brother Leif, who as a current Cougar thrower himself

is the fourth of two Arrhenius generations to toss weighty objects for

the BYU men's track team."I wanted to be around for my little brother — he's got (NCAA)

regionals and nationals coming up, and I wanted to help him," said

Arrhenius.There's as much sibling support as there is rivalry when it comes to

brothers Dan, Nik and Leif in throwing the shot and discus, first at

Mountain View High and later at BYU.Since they were born four years apart — Dan in 1978, Nik in '82 and

Leif in '86 — they never were high school teammates. But they did enjoy

a little bit of brotherly overlap in college on Cougar squads — first

Dan with Nik and then Nik with Leif."We always knew what the others have thrown at certain ages," Nik

Arrhenius said, adding that they tried to equal or better each other's

age-specific throwing distances and ended up breaking each other's

state prep records. "In the discus, I always tried to be one year ahead

of where Dan had been."His older brother forged the path, and his young brother is fresh off

an LDS Church mission and hot on the trail — and Nik Arrhenius would

like to be there to watch, encourage and cheer.But he's got his own meets to compete in this month and his own distances to worry about.