Men’s Shot — An Average Of More Than 75-Feet?!

Ryan Crouser staged another master class in the shot, missing his WR by just 2¾ inches. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

CLASS WILL NOW COME TO ORDER. Welcome to Shot Putting 501: 75-Footers Made Easy. Today’s guest lecturer will be Professor Ryan Crouser…

The reigning Olympic champion indeed took the rest of the world’s great putters to school with the best series the event has ever seen. He averaged 75-½ (22.87), a distance only 4 other throwers have reached even once.

Consider the statistical details — a syllabus for doctoral candidates only — of his 6-put sequence, the first ever to contain a trio of 75-footers:
•74-11 (22.83) — at the time the No. 13 performance ever
•75-2¾ (22.93) — at the time the No. 4 performance ever
•74-7¼ (22.86) — at the time the =No. 18 performance ever
•75-0 (22.74) — at the time the =No. 11 performance ever
•73-11½ (22.54) — outside the all-time top 50
•76-5½ (23.30) — the No. 2 put ever, missing his World Record by a mere 2¾ inches (7cm).

Class notes from another sultry evening in National Stadium as the same 3 rivals who filled the podium at both Rio ’16 and Doha ’19 — Crouser, teammate Joe Kovacs & New Zealand’s Tom Walsh are back at it again:

Round 1
Fourth in the queue, Walsh is the first of the big 3 to throw. The powerful Kiwi immediately takes the lead at a modest 69-2½ (21.09), slaps his hands together in frustration.

Crouser, his hair tied in a warrior knot, is wearing a USA hat and mirrored sunglasses. He spins smoothly across the ring, with a violent reverse that whirls the cap off his head, falling into the ring. The Olympic Record 73-10¾ (22.52) that he set in Rio has been crushed by more than a foot with his 74-11 (22.83).

Kovacs shows that he won’t go down without a fight, moving into 2nd at 72-9¾ (22.19)

Round 2
It’s Walsh’s turn to make a statement and his ball lands just a centimeter shy of the Kovacs mark. He throws his arms up in a V and has he leaves the ring points into the TV camera and says emphatically, “Tommie’s coming!”

This time Crouser’s cap stays on, but his shot is unfettered, reaching 75-2¾ (22.93).

Kovacs can’t respond, hitting only 68-8¾ (20.95), then heading over to the stands for a regular consultation with wife/coach Ashley.

Round 3
No improvement for Walsh, who steps out the front of the circle.

Crouser’s cap flies its farthest yet but his shot doesn’t as it stops at a mere 75-0 (22.86).

Looking far better than he had the previous round, Kovacs gets back in the game at a near-best 72-¼ (21.95).

Mid-term grades: Crouser A+, Kovacs B+, Walsh B.

Round 4
With the field cut back to 8 and reordered, Walsh remains the first of the big 3 in the sequence. He’s forced to delay for a race start, grimaces after a 70-1½ (21.37).

Kovacs then makes it interesting, his shot splatting down at 74-3¾ (22.65), earning a fist-bump from Crouser as he leaves the circle. He’s now only 11 inches (28cm) behind his rival and Crouser certainly remembers Kovacs’s last-throw PR to win in Doha.

Crouser loses his hat yet again, tapes out at 74-7¼ (22.74).

Round 5
Walsh seems happy enough as he gets his best so far (by a centimeter), 72-9¼ (22.18).

Despite his post-put urgings of “Come on!” no improvement from Kovacs at 73-1¾ (22.29).

Crouser is now hatless, instead sporting a purple headband. The new look is no help as he slides back to his shortest of the day, 73-11½ (22.54).

It’s time for the final exam in an Olympic final for the first time was composed of all spinners.

Round 6
Walsh looks solid with an improvement to 73-8¾ (22.47). That’s farther than all previous Olympic golds save one, but it’s only good for bronze here.

Now Kovacs addresses the class and sends one well past the 22-meter line, eliciting from him a sequence of mega-whoas! But it’s not nearly enough past the line at 74-1¾ (22.60).

For the first time in Olympic history (all events) the same podium people will be in matching places two Games in a row.

Crouser isn’t obliged to take the final, but he does. In A++ fashion. Shouting “let’s go!” he once again twists his way across the ring in his smooth-yet-powerful style and drops one well past the 22m line. And if there had been one, a 23m marker as well. Indeed, past any 76-foot line, territory only he has previously explored. WR? At 76-5½ (23.30) he’s just shy of his 76-8¼ (23.37) from the Trials.

As he sits down to absorb the magnitude of what he has done at age 28, Crouser reaches into his bag and pulls out a hand-lettered sign reading, “Grandpa we did it 2020 Olympic champ.”

That was a tribute to the patriarch of the prolific Crouser throwing family, Larry, who recently died at age 85.

Crouser later explained, “He passed away the day before I traveled to Tokyo. So just over a week ago. I was probably about this [holds hand low to ground] tall when I took my first throw with him in his backyard. He got me started throwing, and I threw in his yard until eighth grade.

“The day before I had to leave I threw a shot, and it went right through the roof of his garden shed, so I had to go back the next day and replace that.

“He played a huge role in my throwing career. So to lose him the week before coming to the Olympics, obviously was sad. But I feel like he was able to be here in spirit. I held the note because at the end he lost his hearing so I would write whatever I wanted to say to him and he would read it and answer back. I sat with him for a few hours after the Trials and was able to tell him I was the World Record holder. And he watched that throw on the iPad thousands and thousands of times.

“So I just felt like that was the last note that I wanted to write to him, that I didn’t get the chance to. I know he was here with me in spirit, and I know he would be proud if he was here.”


MEN’S SHOT RESULTS

(August 05) (temperature 82F/32C; humidity 58%)

1. Ryan Crouser (US) 76-5½ (23.30) (x, 2 W, A) (OR)

(74-11 OR [x, 13 W; x, 9 A], 75-2¾ OR [x, 4 W; x, 3 A], 75-0 [x, =11 W; x, =8 A], 74-7¼ [x, =18 W; x, =13 A], 73-11½, 76-5½ OR) (22.83, 22.93, 22.86, 22.74, 22.54, 23.30) (avg—75-½/22.87);

2. Joe Kovacs (US) 74-3¾ (22.65)

(72-9¾, 68-8¾, 72-¼, 74-3¾, 73-1¾, 74-1¾) (22.19, 20.95, 21.95, 22.65, 22.29, 22.60);

3. Tom Walsh (NZ) 73-8¾ (22.47)

(69-2½, 72-9, f, 70-1½, 72-9¼, 73-8¾) (21.09, 22.17, f, 21.37, 22.18, 22.47);

4. Darlan Romani (Bra) 71-9½ (21.88)

(71-9½, 69-7½, 68-9¼, f, f, 67-11) (21.88, 21.22, 20.96, f, f, 20.70);

5. Zane Weir (Ita) 70-3 (21.41) PR

(68-5, 66-5¼, 67-10¼, 70-2½, PB, 70-3, f) (20.85, 20.25, 20.68, 21.40, PB, 21.41, f);

6. Kyle Blignaut (SA) 68-10¾ (21.00)

(66-7, f, 68-10¾, 68-9¼, 67-1½, f) (20.29, f, 21.00, 20.96, 20.46, f);

7. Armin Sinančević (Ser) 68-6½ (20.89)

(68-6½, f, f, 67-¾, f, f) (20.89, f, f, 20.44, f, f);

8. Mostafa Amer Hassan (Egy) 68-¼ (20.73)

(67-3½, 68-¼, f, f, 67-8¼, 68-¼) (20.51, 20.73, f, f, 20.63, 20.73);

9. Jacko Gill (NZ) 67-11½ (20.71)

(f, 67-11½, 67-11½) (f, 20.71, 20.71);

10. Payton Otterdahl (US) 66-8 (20.32)

(66-8, f, f) (20.32, f, f);

11. Mesud Pezer (Bos) 65-10½ (20.08)

(f, f, 65-10½) (f, f, 20.08);

12. Chuk Enekwechi (Ngr) 64-9¼ (19.74)

(f, 61-11, 64-9¼) (f, 18.87, 19.74).

first 3 rounds
* = progression of the leading throw; ¶ = athlete’s best of the day
Pezer f f 20.08¶
Enekwechi f 18.87 19.74¶
Weir 20.85* 20.25 20.68
Walsh 21.09* 22.17 f
Otterdahl 20.32¶ f f
Hassan 20.51 20.73¶ f
Crouser 22.83* 22.93 22.86
Sinančević 20.89¶ f f
Blignaut 20.29 f 21.00¶
Romani 21.88¶ 21.22 20.96
Kovacs 22.19 20.95 21.95
Gill f 20.71¶ 20.71
rounds 4–5
Hassan f 20.63
Weir 21.40 21.41¶
Sinančević 20.44 f
Blignaut 20.96 20.46
Romani f f
Walsh 21.37 22.18
Kovacs 22.65¶ 22.29
Crouser 22.74 22.54
final round
Hassan 20.73¶
Sinančević f
Blignaut f
Weir f
Romani 20.70
Walsh 22.47¶
Kovacs 22.60
Crouser 23.30¶

QUALIFYING (August0 3; auto-qualifier 69-6¾/21.20)

Qualifiers: Crouser 72-4¼ (22.05), Walsh 70-6¼ (21.49), Pezer 69-11¾ (21.33), Romani 69-11 (21.31), Weir 69-8¾ (21.25) PR, Hassan 69-8 (21.23), Enekwechi 69-5¼ (21.16), Blignaut 68-9¾ (20.97), Gill 68-9¼ (20.96), Sinančević 68-9¼ (20.96), Kovacs 68-8 (20.93), Otterdahl 68-7 (20.90);

Non-qualifiers: Michał Haratyk (Pol) 68-5¼ (20.86) (farthest non-qualifier ever), Leonardo Fabbri (Ita) 68-3 (20.80) (also better than previous non-qualifier), Filip Mihaljević (Cro) 67-9¾ (20.67), Francisco Belo (Por) 67-6¼ (20.58), Tomáš Staněk (CzR) 67-2 (20.47), Scott Lincoln (GB) 67-0 (20.42), Jason Van Rooyen (SA) 66-7 (20.29), Nick Ponzio (Ita) 66-6½ (20.28), Bob Bertemes (Lux) 66-1¾ (20.16), Abdelrahman Mahmoud (Bhr) 66-1 (20.14), Konrad Bukowiecki (Pol) 65-7¾ (20.01), Tajinderpal Singh (Ind) 65-7 (19.99), Hamza Mohamed (Egy) 65-½ (19.82), Andrei Toader (Rom) 65-0 (19.81), Giorgi Mujaridze (Geo) 64-10 (19.76), Wictor Petersson (Swe) 64-8¾ (19.73), Asmir Kolašinac (Ser) 64-6¾ (19.68), Ihor Musiyenko (Ukr) 64-2¼ (19.56), Tim Nedow (Can) 63-8¾ (19.42). ◻︎

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