It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a world champion in any sport.
Daniel McKim, a 2000 graduate of Maryville High School, has done it twice.
McKim competes in the Scottish Highland Games and recently took his second title in three years at the International Highland Games Federation World Championships in Dana Point, Calif.
McKim took first in both hammer throws and stayed close in the rest of the eight events in order to finish with an overall top score.
"You don't have to win every single event to take the championship," McKim said. "But you do have to stay up there."
At the international level, competition can get heavier than the weights heaved by the kilt-clad athletes.
"There is a lot more pressure," McKim said. "The world championship is the one you train for. So there's a lot of tension."
McKim was expected to do well in the heavy hammer throw and didn't disappoint, setting a new world record of 123' 9."
Going into the competition, he had already set the North American and United States record in the event with a throw of 125' 10".
"In the first event, I wanted to set the stage for the weekend," McKim said. "The first day, everyone is so tense. I told myself 'Just start with a good throw.' There is a lot more riding on the international competitions."
There are typically eight events in the Highland Games. One consists of throwing a 16-pound open stone in a manner similar to the shot put.
Then there is the 22-pound Braemar stone, also thrown for distance, along with 28- and 56-pound weights throws.
The 16- and 22-pound hammer throws were the two events in which McKim beat the field.
Competitors also throw a 56-pound weight over a bar and participate in something called a caber toss.
A caber is a roughly trimmed tree trunk that athletes must lift up from one end and then throw so that it flips completely over. Points are scored based on the position of the caber when it lands.
A perfect toss leaves the opposite end of the massive pole at the 12 o'clock position directly in front of the thrower.
McKim is the son of the Rev. Paul McKim, pastor of Laura Street Baptist Church in Maryville, and his wife, Becky.
He is known for the red shirt he sometimes sports during competition that reads "Believe" on the front and bears a reference to Mark 1:15 on the back: "The time has come. ... The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Though he isn't always allowed to wear the shirt in competition, McKim finds other ways to demonstrate his Christian faith through public speaking and his website at www.believethrower.com.