GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Here was the choice: Honeymoon in Australia, or train for the hammer and high jump.
For Michael Mai and Deirdre Mullen, it wasn't even close. Australia can wait.
The couple married in July but put off their honeymoon until after the Pan American Games so they could train right. Mai won the silver medal in the men's hammer throw, and Mullen was fourth in the women's high jump.
"It was definitely worth it," Mullen said Thursday. "We are a track family and track has always been a huge priority in our lives. We wouldn't have enjoyed our honeymoon as much if we were in competition mode. Now that the season is over we can take some time off until we start preparing for next season again."
Mai threw 238 feet, 6 inches Wednesday, finishing behind American teammate Kibwe Johnson (261-3). Mullen jumped 6-0 1/2, with Lesyani Mayor of Cuba taking the gold.
The couple live in Mountain View, Calif., and will make a stop in the United States for a couple of days before flying to Australia for about a two-week honeymoon. They didn't want the trip to Australia to interfere with practice and hurt their chances at the Pan Ams.
"Most of our trips together happen when we are competing in meets and we are always training," Mullen said. "Now we can just relax and actually get to enjoy the country we are going to."
Mullen and Mai met at a track meet in 2007 and started dating a couple of years later.
"She moved out to California after we got married at the end of July and we've been training together since then," Mai said. "Things have been going great."
They say having an athlete as a spouse plays to their advantage most of the time.
"I think it really helps. We share similar mindsets. We know what motivates us to keep improving. She is my motivation to keep improving," the 34-year-old Mai said. "Sometimes we are pretty stubborn, but that can be a positive thing, too. Some days you get up and you don't want to train, but you have your spouse there pushing you to do it."
The 29-year-old Mullen said there is more good than bad to being married to a fellow competitor.
"He understands what I'm going through. He knows about the ups and downs of being an athlete," she said. "It's easier to explain our frustrations to each other. It's easier for us to pull each other up when needed."
After honeymooning in Australia, the couple will start preparing for next season. They hope their next major trip will be to London, so they can compete together at the 2012 Olympics.
"It would be wonderful if both of us could make the team," Mullen said. "We had fun together at the Pan American Games. It was kind of a preview. We got to see what it would be like to be in the Olympics."
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