Photos by Richard Svaleson/NDSU Athletics
Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap-clap…
The slow clap is ignited by fans and fellow athletes as javelin throwers skip one by one down the runway before launching their spears high into the sky. Everything comes to a halt during track and field meets as the throwers gather the attention of everyone within eyeshot. The scene creates a lot of pressure, but for NDSU’s Matti Mortimore, anxiety is a feeling he claims to never experience.
Mortimore finished 12th in the country in the javelin last season and was named second-team All-American. This season, he’s poised to finish even higher after throwing a javelin farther than any English male since 2012 during the Stanford Invitational in March.
The senior claims Ipswich, England, as home, but persists his future is in America. The outgoing and eloquent philosophy major’s javelin career may have a month of life left, but his record-breaking marks will etch his name in the Bison record books for a long time to come.
Mortimore caught up with the magazine after his 77.47-meter throw to discuss his passions off the track and how he’s adjusted to life in America.
You were recently on MidcoSN. You looked comfortable in front of the TV cameras and lights.
“Yeah, I’ve done a few (interviews) but I’m not this super famous person who does a lot of them. I’m just pretty comfortable. I’ve always been a comfortable public speaker. I do things around campus—public talks and I try to get involved with the local community, so public speaking is something I’m never worried about.”
So you do have the charisma of a philosopher.
“I’m taking a political philosophy class right now. Political philosophy is my passion. I kid you not. Legal and political philosophy–I love that stuff and it’s insane. The other day, I was reading Plato’s ‘Republic,’ and my friend passed me and I was laughing, crying with tears, I just found it so funny. She saw me reading Plato’s ‘Republic’ and she was like, ‘What?’
“This text is so rich for me because I’ve read so much of it and I can see where the authors have gotten some of their ideas and it’s so interesting. That’s one thing I plan to do in the future, actually. I want to get into politics as well, and write, but in more of an academic setting. I’m really interested in political philosophy, not political science where you’re describing what the government is like. I’m much more interested in how it should be and trying to make the world a better place. I know it’s naïve and childish like, ‘I want to save the world and make it a better place.’ But that’s my drive and that’s what I want to do.”
Why are you planning on going to law school then?
“Law school, because it’s a really smart financial thing to do. Like I said earlier, I wanted to do a Ph.D. in philosophy and that’s my biggest passion, but the job market is not good. Anything you can do with a Ph.D. in philosophy is be a philosopher, which is cool, and I would love to do that but it’s a big time commitment.”
Why are you staying in America to pursue your law degree?
“I’ve built my life here. When I got home to England, I didn’t feel home anymore. I’ve been here for so long now that this feels like home. And when I go home, I look and see that people have accents. It’s the weirdest thing. Even when I hear myself talk, I’m like, ‘What the? Wow, I sound weird.’ But I want to stay here.”