TOKYO: World record-holder Ryan Crouser bettered his own Olympic mark as he retained the men’s shot put title today.
The American managed a best of 23.30m on his sixth and final effort, a new Olympic record after his five previous attempts had also all gone beyond the 22.52m that saw him win gold at the 2016 Rio Games.
The 28-year-old Crouser led a repeat of the Rio podium, with teammate and world champion Joe Kovacs taking silver with 22.65m, and New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh claiming bronze (22.47m).
Crouser put in a consistent shift in baking conditions at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, going into the lead with his first attempt and never ceding.
Expectations on Crouser, who was pushed into silver by Kovacs at the 2019 world championships in Doha, had obviously been high.
After his victory was confirmed, he quickly ran to his kit bag, donned a cowboy hat and showed to the television cameras a sheet of paper on which was written: “Grandpa, we did it, 2020 Olympic champion.”
Crouser was brought up in a family deeply embedded in athletics: his father Mitch was an alternate on the discus team at the 1984 Los Angeles Games while his uncle Brian was a two-time Olympian in the javelin and cousin Sam represented the US in the javelin in Rio.
His grandfather Larry, he has revealed, was instrumental in encouraging him in the pursuit of Olympic glory with training sessions from an early age in his backyard.
Crouser’s victory follows an exceptional US trials in June during which he set a world record of 23.37m.