Olympic Men’s Discus — Daniel Ståhl Leads Swedish 1–2

Daniel Ståhl had plenty to shout about as he became the reigning Olympic & world champion. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

A SWEDISH MEDAL was completely predictable in the discus, and there was also little doubt the color would match Sweden’s gold uniforms. It was less expected that the Scandinavian nation would double its medal fun, taking the top two podium spots.

World champion Daniel Ståhl, 28, added Olympic champion to his résumé with a second-round 226-0 (68.90) that was never really threatened for the remainder of the evening, not even by himself.

The closest challenge came late in the competition from 27-year-old teammate Simon Pettersson, whose 221-1 (67.39) secured silver. The two training partners became the first Swedish platter medalists since Ricky Bruch’s bronze in ’72.

Australia’s surprising Matt Denny took the early lead, notching 215-9 (65.76) in frame 1, while Ståhl managed only a modest 209-1 (63.72), putting him 3rd.

The second round saw the most churn in the podium spots. Austria’s Lukas Weißhaidinger briefly grabbed the lead with a toss of 218-8 (66.65) and Pettersson moved into 2nd (for the first time) with 218-5 (66.58).

Then Ståhl threw down the gauntlet with his winning mark.

In round 3, Weißhaidinger, now sitting 2nd, strengthened his hand with a 220-0 (67.07).

The finish order was finally set in the fifth round when Pettersson reclaimed the silver for his first major championship medal, pushing Weißhaidinger down to bronze. That’s a color the Austrian knows well, having also placed 3rd at Doha in ’19 and the European Championships in ’18.

Forecasted medals for Slovenia’s Kristjan Čeh and Lithuania’s Andrius Gudžius never materialized, the former landing 5th at 217-9 (66.37) and the latter placing 6th at 210-4 (64.11). Denny scored the only PR of the day, a final-round 219-10 (67.02) that bumped him ahead of Čeh for 4th.

Ståhl said his rise to this moment was the culmination of a long-term plan: “I used to play hockey before and then before high school I decided to do discus and shot put and my mum was coaching me. Then [coach] Vesteinn Hafsteinsson came to me as an 18-year-old kid, and he said to me, ‘You are one of the biggest talents I have ever seen and I am going to recruit you to my team.’ That is how my trip started.

“He told me, ‘In 9 years at Tokyo 2020 you will be Olympic champion if you believe in what I say.’

“It is a very emotional evening right now, not only for me and my team, my family and my training partner, Simon Pettersson here, he has been training a lot and worked hard. We have had a lot of fun for those eight years together, as a training partner.”

“It feels amazing,” Pettersson said of his runner-up performance. “I knew there was a small possibility to grab a medal, but I didn’t think it would be silver. Maybe a bronze if I had a good throw.”

Asked if the duo created a legacy that will continue in the Scandinavian nation, Pettersson said, “I hope it will become that way. I try to work hard, and make the best of what we do, so we are just happy to have Vesteinn as a coach, I’m very thankful for what he’s done for us.”

“I kind of like the guy,” Pettersson said of his training partner. “I hope he likes me too, but we actually really like each other.”

The lone American in the final was neither Trials champ Mason Finley nor runner-up Reggie Jagers, both of whom had subpar efforts in qualifying.

Instead, the Team USA rep was Sam Mattis, who peaked at the right time with season’s bests of 209-1 (63.74) in qualifying and 209-7 (63.88) in the final for 8th.

The United States has not claimed an Olympic discus medal since ’84, when Mac Wilkins and John Powell went 2-3.


MEN’S DISCUS RESULTS

(July 31) (temperature 92F/28C; 57% humidity)

1. Daniel Ståhl (Swe) 226-0 (68.90)

(209-1, 226-0, 213-9, 216-10, 219-11, 211-10) (63.72, 68.90, 65.16, 66.10, 67.03, 64.58);

2. Simon Pettersson (Swe) 221-1 (67.39)

(201-5, 218-5, f, 217-4, 221-1, 214-6) (61.39, 66.58, f, 66.24, 67.39, 65.39);

3. Lukas Weißhaidinger (Aut) 220-0 (67.07)

(206-5, 218-8, 220-0, 219-4, f, f) (62.92, 66.65, 67.07, 66.86, f, f);

4. Matt Denny (Aus) 219-10 (67.02) PR

(215-9, 215-0, 216-4, 213-3, 216-9, 219-10) (65.76, 65.53, 65.94, 65.00, 66.06, 67.02);

5. Kristjan Čeh (Slo) 217-9 (66.37)

(f, 206-6, f, 216-8, f, 217-9) (f, 62.95, f, 66.05, f, 66.37);

6. Andrius Gudžius (Lit) 210-4 (64.11)

(210-1, f, 209-4, 210-4, 206-1, f) (64.05, f, 63.82, 64.11, 62.81, f);

7. Mauricio Ortega (Col) 210-3 (64.08)

(200-4, 208-4, f, 210-3, 209-6, f) (61.06, 63.51, f, 64.08, 63.87, f);

8. Sam Mattis (US) 209-7 (63.88)

(200-9, 209-7, 207-2, f, 204-8, f) (61.18, 63.88, 63.14, f, 62.39, f);

9. Chad Wright (Jam) 205-3 (62.56)

(201-6, 201-6, 205-3) (61.43, 61.42, 62.56);

10. Daniel Jasinski (Ger) 204-10 (62.44)

(202-7, 204-10, f) (61.75, 62.44, f);

11. Clemens Prüfer (Ger) 202-7 (61.75)

(202-7, 199-3, f) (61.75, 60.73, f);

12. Ola Stunes Isene (Nor) 200-9 (61.18)

(199-11, 200-9, f) (60.95, 61.18, f).

first 3 rounds
* = progression of the leading throw; ¶ = athlete’s best of the day
Weißhaidinger 62.92* 66.65* 67.07¶
Mattis 61.18 63.88¶ 63.14
Stunes Isene 60.95 61.18¶ f
Denny 65.76* 65.53 65.94
Pettersson 61.39 66.58 f
Prüfer 61.75¶ 60.73 f
Ståhl 63.72 68.90*¶ 65.16
Jasinski 61.75 62.44¶ f
Čeh f 62.95 f
Ortega 61.06 63.51 f
Wright 61.43 61.42 62.56¶
Gudžius 64.05 f 63.82
rounds 4-5
Čeh 66.05 f
Ortega 64.08¶ 63.87
Mattis f 62.39
Gudžius 64.11¶ 62.81
Denny 65.00 66.06
Pettersson 66.24 67.39¶
Weißhaidinger 66.86 f
Ståhl 66.10 67.03
final round
Mattis f
Ortega f
Gudžius f
Denny 67.02¶
Čeh 66.37¶
Weißhaidinger f
Pettersson 65.39
Ståhl 64.58

QUALIFYING (July 30; auto-qualifier 216-6/66.00)

Qualifiers: Ståhl 216-11 (66.12), Gudžius 216-4 (65.94), Čeh 214-8 (65.45), Denny 213-8 (65.13), Weißhaidinger 212-6 (64.77), Ortega 211-7 (64.49), Pettersson 210-7 (64.18), Mattis 209-1 (63.74), Jasinski 207-7 (63.29), Isene 207-6 (63.26), Prüfer 207-3 (63.18), Wright 206-5 (62.93);

Non-qualifiers: Fedrick Dacres (Jam) 206-4 (62.91), Bartłomiej Stój (Pol) 206-2 (62.84), Piotr Małachowski (Pol) 205-8 (62.68), Apostolos Parellis (Cyp) 203-9 (62.11), Alin Alexandru Firfirica (Rom) 203-1 (61.90), Alex Rose (AmS) 202-6 (61.72), Reggie Jagers (US) 201-8 (61.47), Mykyta Nesterenko (Ukr) 199-11 (60.95), Lolassonn Djouhan (Fra) 199-3 (60.74), David Wrobel (Ger) 198-1 (60.38), Mason Finley (US) 197-11 (60.34), Danijel Furtula (MNE) 196-7 (59.93), Traves Smikle (Jam) 193-8 (59.04), Ehsan Hadadi (Irn) 193-6 (58.98), Yauheni Bahutski (Blr) 192-5 (58.65), Juan José Caicedo (Ecu) 189-5 (57.75), Giovanni Faloci (Ita) 188-1 (57.33), Lois Maikel Martínez (Spa) 179-5 (54.69);… 3f—Lawrence Okoye (GB), Gudni Valur Gudnason (Ice). ◻︎

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