World Champs Men’s Shot — Getting The Missing Piece

Previous WCs hadn’t been kind to Ryan Crouser but now he finally has a gold medal. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

WHEN YOU’RE STANDING on the concrete berm at the rear of the Hayward shot sector and observe the ring about 80-feet distant, it is hard to imagine that any human can propel a 16-pound ball of metal that far. But Ryan Crouser is not “any human.”

Coming in, the WR holder and double Olympic champion owned 8 of the 11 marks at 23m (75-5½) marks in history, 180 throws at 22m (72-2¼) and 16 of the top 25 performances. The one title that eluded him was world champion. This was his chance to resolve that issue.

Only three appeared capable of impeding his quest. Brazil’s Darlan Romani is the only one to defeat Crouser since ’19, at this year’s World Indoor, with a 73-11 (22.53) PR. Joe Kovacs succeeded with his final throw at Doha 2019, a PR 75-2 (22.91), but that was his only win against 24 losses in their competitions since ’17. New Zealander Tom Walsh, who also had a PR at Doha with his 75-1¾ (22.90), has but one win against him in the last four years.

After an uneventful qualifying round, the final began two days later in bright sunshine. There were some monstrous warmup throws by Crouser and, notably, by Kovacs.

Round 1: Crouser narrowly stayed in the ring, but managed 72-10½ (22.21). Then he watched Kovacs unload a huge 74-3 (22.63), and teammate Josh Awotunde hit a big PR 72-11¾ (22.24).

Round 2: With Team USA now poised for a first-ever sweep of the shot medals, Crouser took the lead with a 74-6¼ (22.71). Kovacs had a deliberate foul at about 22m. Romani moved into 4th with a noisy 71-10¼ (21.90). Further dramatic order changes lay ahead.

Round 3: Walsh entered the picture with 70-6¼ (21.49). Neither of the big two improved.

Round 4: Only Romani improved, and only by three-quarters of an inch.

Round 5: Fireworks! First Walsh, with his best effort of the day, 72-5¼ (22.08). Then Awotunde, with another PR, 73-1¾ (22.29). That moved him to No. 10 on the all-time U.S. list. A very determined Kovacs, in a display of raw power, went into the lead with a long 75-1¼ (22.89), only 2cm shy of his Doha mark.

Crouser was ready, but had to wait during a race introduction. He walked to the center of the field, and stared to the north for a long time, a study in concentration. Then he had to wait again for a hurdle-DQ discussion. Finally cleared to throw, he entered the ring, spun and launched a 75-3¼ (22.94) meet record.

Round 6: Romani fouled, Awotunde had another great mark (72-10¾/22.22), and Kovacs, with one last chance, came up well-short and smacked his head in frustration.

After a closing foul Crouser reflected, “This is a night I’ll never forget, probably the proudest moment of my shotputting career. To have the dream come true tonight, in this place, in a ring where I’ve been throwing since I was 12 years old, is better than I could ever have expected.”

“Hats off to Ryan,” said Kovacs. “I know he is always ready. I would not be throwing as far if it wasn’t for him. Our battle is never done until it’s over.”


MEN’S SHOT RESULTS

FINAL (July 17)

(temperature 77F/25C; humidity 44%)

1. Ryan Crouser (US) 75-3¼ (22.94) MR

(72-10½, 74-6¼, 74-1, 72-8½, 75-3¼, f) (22.21, 22.71, 22.58, 22.16, 22.94, f);

2. Joe Kovacs (US) 75-1¼ (22.89)

(74-3, f, 72-9, 69-¾, 75-1¼, 73-6¾) (22.63, f, 22.17, 21.05, 22.89, 22.42);

3. Josh Awotunde (US) 73-1¾ (22.29) PR (10, x A)

(72-11¾ PR, 71-2½, 69-4¼, f, 73-1¾, 72-10¾) (22.24, 21.70, 21.14, f, 22.29, 22.22);

4. Tom Walsh (NZ) 72-5¼ (22.08)

(70-2½, 67-9¾, 70-6¼, f, 72-5¼, 69-9½) (21.40, 20.67, 21.49, f, 22.08, 21.27);

5. Darlan Romani (Bra) 71-11 (21.92)

(71-2, 71-10¼, f, 71-11, 70-¼, f) (21.69, 21.90, f, 21.92, 21.34, f);

6. Filip Mihaljević (Cro) 71-7¼ (21.82)

(69-¾, f, f, 70-½, 71-7¼, 70-9¾) (21.05, f, f, 21.35, 21.82, 21.58);

7. Jacko Gill (NZ) 70-2½ (21.40)

(62-11½, 68-1, 68-3¾, 69-0, f, 70-2½) (19.19, 20.75, 20.82, 21.03, f, 21.40);

8. Tripp Piperi (US) 68-8 (20.93)

(68-6, 68-8, f, 68-2½, f, f) (20.88, 20.93, f, 20.79, f, f);

9. Nick Ponzio (Ita) 68-3¼ (20.81)

(66-6½, 68-3¼, 68-1½) (20.28, 20.81, 20.76);

10. Marcus Thomsen (Nor) 67-9½ (20.66)

(67-8¾, 67-9½, 65-6¾) (20.64, 20.66, 19.98);

* = progression of the leading throw; ¶ = athlete’s best of the day
first 3 rounds
Mihaljević 21.05* f f
Ponzio 20.28 20.81¶ 20.76
Enekwechi 20.15 f 20.65¶
Gill 19.19 20.75 20.82
Crouser 22.21* 22.71* 22.58
Muñoz 20.01¶ 19.71 19.79
Piperi 20.88 20.93¶ f
Thomsen 20.64 20.66¶ 19.98
Kovacs 22.63* f 22.17
Romani 21.69 21.90 f
Awotunde 22.24 21.70 21.14
Walsh 21.40 20.67 21.49
rounds 4 & 5
Gill 21.03 f
Piperi 20.79 f
Mihaljević 21.35 21.82¶
Walsh f 22.08¶
Romani 21.92¶ 21.34
Awotunde f 22.29¶
Kovacs 21.05 22.89*¶
Crouser 22.16 22.94*¶
last round
Piperi f
Gill 21.40¶
Mihaljević 21.58
Romani f
Walsh 21.27
Awotunde 22.22
Kovacs 22.42
Crouser f

QUALIFYING

(July 15; auto-qualifier 69-6¾/21.20)

Qualifiers: Crouser 73-1¼ (22.28), Kovacs 70-6½ (21.50), Walsh 70-4¼ (21.44), Ponzio 70-½ (21.35), Gill 69-8¼ (21.24), Awotunde 69-6 (21.18), Mihaljević 69-5½ (21.17), Piperi 69-0 (21.03), Romani 68-10 (20.98), Enekwechi 68-5¾ (20.87), Thomsen 66-6 (20.27), Muñoz 66-5 (20.24).

Non-Qualifiers: Konrad Bukowiecki (Pol) 66-5 (20.24), Michał Haratyk (Pol) 66-½ (20.13), Roman Kokoshko (Ukr) 65-8¼ (20.02), Scott Lincoln (GB) 65-6¼ (19.97), Tsanko Arnaudov (Por) 65-4¾ (19.93), Andrei Toader (Rom) 65-¾ (19.83), Wellington Morais (Bra) 64-11½ (19.80), Eric Favors (Ire) 64-10 (19.76), Willian Dourado (Bra) & Leonardo Fabbri (Ita) 64-8¾ (19.73), Simon Bayer (Ger) 64-8 (19.71), Carlos Tobalina (Spa) 64-7¾ (19.70), Nikólaos Skarvélis (Gre) 64-1¾ (19.55), Frántsi-Anastásios Latifllári (Gre) 62-3¼ (18.98), Ignacio Carballo (Arg) 61-5¾ (18.74), Dotun Ogundeji (Ngr) 60-2½ (18.35), John Kelly (Ire) 58-9½ (17.92). ◻︎

Subscription Options

Digital Only Subscription

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$88 per year (recurring)

Digital Only Premium Archive

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$138 per year (recurring)

Print + Digital Subscription

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach
  • 12 Monthly Print Issues

$125.00 USA per year (recurring)
$173.00 Canada per year (recurring)
$223.00 Foreign per year (recurring)

Print + Digital Premium Archive

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach
  • 12 Monthly Print Issues

$175.00 USA per year (recurring)
$223.00 Canada per year (recurring)
$273.00 Foreign per year (recurring)

Print Only Subscription

  • 12 Monthly Print Issues
  • Does not include online access or eTrack Results Newsletter

$89.00 USA per year (recurring)
$137.00 Canada per year (recurring)
$187.00 Foreign per year (recurring)

Track Coach
(Digital Only)

  • Track Coach Quarterly Technique Journal
  • Access to Track Coach Archived Issues

Note: Track Coach is included with all Track & Field News digital subscriptions. If you are a current T&FN subscriber, purchase of a Track Coach subscription will terminate your existing T&FN subscription and change your access level to Track Coach content only. Track & Field News print only subscribers will need to upgrade to a T&FN subscription level that includes digital access to read Track Coach issues and articles online.

$19.95 every 1 year (recurring)