On the very first day of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, a native son of the Beaver State punched his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics by shattering a world record that had stood even longer than he has been alive. And that achievement will set the tone for his Olympic title defense.
On Friday, Ryan Crouser broke the world record in shot put, heaving his sphere 76 feet and 8¼ inches (23.37 meters) into the record books. Crouser broke a record which stood for over three decades, when fellow American Randy Barnes threw 75-10¼ (23.12) in May of 1990.
Crouser, who won gold in shot put during the 2016 Rio Olympics, parlayed his record into a renewed place on the United States’ Olympic shot put team. Crouser will be joined in Tokyo by Joe Kovacs and Payton Otterdahl.
“I stayed big with my chest and relaxed and let the entry happen. I didn’t force it,” Crouser said in a report by Pat Graham of the Associated Press. “And once I did that well, I knew the throw was going to be good, so I didn’t do anything to mess it up from there.”
Standing at 6-7 and 320 pounds, Crouser is as physically imposing a presence as there is at an Olympic track meet. The latest in a family of throwers — Crouser’s father was an alternate on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and his uncle qualified for two Olympic teams in javelin competition — Crouser won gold in the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships before competing in track & field at the University of Texas.
In addition to his gold medal at Rio, Crouser has also ranked in world championship competition, winning silver at the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha.
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