Olympic Trials Men’s Shot — Ryan Crouser Crushes World Record

A 76-8¼ by Ryan Crouser became the first men’s throwing event outdoor WR of the 21st century. (KEVIN MORRIS)

AFTER TEASING US on so many occasions with perhaps the greatest consistency the event has ever seen, Ryan Crouser got his big outlier. And it lies way out there: a WR 76-8¼ (23.37) from the circle, a quantum put ahead of Randy Barnes’s official mark of 75-10¼ (23.12) from ’90. [Note: because Barnes had a doping positive that year, T&FN doesn’t carry his ’90 marks on its all-time lists, instead recognizing Ulf Timmermann’s 75-8/23.06 as the leader.]

Crouser had served notice in the early-afternoon qualifying round that he hadn’t lost any of his mojo since his last competition, in Tucson a month earlier. As the fifth thrower in the first flight he unleashed the No. 3 performance ever, 75-2½ (22.92). That destroyed the best ever seen in a Q-round, 73-8 (22.45) by New Zealand’s Tom Walsh at the ’18 Commonwealth Games. For good measure, Crouser backed that up with a second-attempt 74-3½ (22.64) before passing his third.

“I am really excited based on the fact that I was able to throw my second farthest throw ever,” he said. “It was a static throw. I can add a chunk to that with a full throw. It was really easy. I was nervous hopping in that first round. Iron some stuff out this evening, and find some patience.”

Some 7 hours later he stepped back in the ring as thrower No. 8 in the final, wearing a blue headband over his warrior-knotted hair, throwing wrist sporting a large light-blue wrapping.

His opener was just another day at the office in Crouser-land, 74-2¼ (22.61). The second was a drop-off to 73-11¾ (22.55) that left him visibly grumbling to himself. After he urged the crowd for some support, the third was more like it, 74-7 (22.73). Which brought us to his fabulous fourth try.

The first clue that this wasn’t an ordinary put — even by Crouser’s lofty standards — was his shooting his hands in the air before he had even completed his spin. The ball broke dirt in virgin territory, leaving Crouser in eager anticipation, visibly saying, “C’mon, c’mon!” It came.

For the master of consistency, fouls are rather rare these days, but he failed to stay in the ring on his fifth throw, which was out in the range of the previous WR. He closed with a mere 74-2½ (22.62) and his day of days was done.

Said Crouser, “Those first three rounds I was like, ‘I’m totally in line and I’m getting a big one.’ As soon as I set myself up and found my position out the back and attacked through the finish I knew it was good. I think if you watch the video you see me celebrate about the moment it left my hand.”

Video also shows Crouser’s left heel appearing to touch outside the circle as he initiates his record throw. WA rules clarify that touching in this manner doesn’t constitute a foul so long as the “touch is made without providing any propulsion.” No harm, no foul.

The second team spot belonged to Joe Kovacs all night long, as he was in 2nd all the way, improving four times until he reached 73-3½ (22.34) in the final round.

The final Tokyo position went to Payton Otterdahl, who PRed at 71-11 (21.89) in round 5. Veteran Darrell Hill got his best in 5 as well, just an inch behind Otterdahl.

MEN’S SHOT RESULTS

(June 18)

1. Ryan Crouser (Nik) 76-8¼ (23.37) WR, AR (old WR, AR 75-10¼/23.12 Randy Barnes [Mazda TC ’90)

(74-2¼, 73-11¾, 74-7, 76-8¼, f, 74-2½) (22.61, 22.55, 22.73, 23.37, f, 22.62);

2. Joe Kovacs (VelNYAC) 73-3½ (22.34)

(70-8½, 70-9, 72-4½, 70-1¾, 72-6½, 73-3½) (21.55, 21.56, 22.06, 21.38, 22.11, 22.34);

3. Payton Otterdahl (Nik) 71-11 (21.92) PR

(67-¾, 69-10¾, 68-3¾, f, 71-11, 70-5) (20.44, 21.30, 20.82, f, 21.92, 21.46);

4. Darrell Hill (Nik) 71-10 (21.89)

(68-5, 69-4, 69-8¼, 68-4½, 71-10, f) (20.85, 21.13, 21.24, 20.84, 21.89, f);

5. Josh Awotunde (Shore) 71-8 (21.84) PR

(65-11¾, 68-5¾, 69-2¾, 68-8¾, f, 71-8) (20.11, 20.87, 21.10, 20.95, f, 21.84);

6. Andrew Liskowitz (Mi) 68-9¾ (20.97)

(67-8¾, 67-2¼, f, f, 68-9¾, f) (20.64, 20.48, f, f, 20.97, f);

7. Jordan Geist (Az) 68-3 (20.80)

(67-3¼, 67-11¾, 67-7½, 65-6, 68-3, f) (20.50, 20.72, 20.61, 19.96, 20.80, f);

8. Curtis Jensen (Vel) 67-8 (20.62)

(66-1½, 65-5½, 67-8, 65-7, 65-11, 66-2¼) (20.15, 19.95, 20.62, 19.99, 20.09, 20.17);

9. Roger Steen (Vel) 66-11½ (20.41) PR

(66-11½, 66-1¾, f) (20.41, 20.16, f);

10. T’Mond Johnson (GarS) 66-¼ (20.12)

(64-¼, 66-¼, 65-0) (19.51, 20.12, 19.81);

11. Tripp Piperi (Tx) 65-6 (19.96)

(65-5, f, 65-6) (19.94, f, 19.96);

12. Darius King (NnIa) 60-5¾ (18.43)

(f, 60-5¾, f) (f, 18.43, f).

QUALIFYING (June 18)

Qualifiers: Crouser 75-2½ (22.92) (x, 3 W; x, 2 A) (best-ever qualifying mark—old best 73-8/22.45 Tom Walsh [NZ] ’18) (MR) (75-2½, 74-3½, p) (22.92, 22.64, p),

Kovacs 71-6¾ (21.81), Awotunde 68-10¾ (21.00), Piperi 68-1¾ (20.77), Otterdahl 67-7½ (20.61), Hill 67-½ (20.43), Liskowitz 66-3¼ (20.20), Jensen 65-10½ (20.08), Steen 65-6 (19.96), Johnson 65-3¼ (19.89), Geist 64-8½ (19.72), King 64-6 (19.66);

Non-qualifiers: Matthew Katnik (USC) 64-¼ (19.51), Lucas Warning (GarS) 62-7¾ (19.09), Tyler Blalock (Kenn) 62-4 (19.00), John Meyer (Mi) 62-4 (19.00), Nik Curtiss (Tif) 62-1 (18.92), Ralph Casper (Tif) 61-0 (18.59), Coy Blair (unat) 60-10¾ (18.56), Jonah Wilson (Wa) 60-8½ (18.50), Adam Kessler (Drake) 58-6 (17.83), Daniel McArthur (NC) 58-5¾ (17.82), McKay Johnson (USC) 57-11¾ (17.67);… 3f—David Pless (Iron).

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