The SHOT PUT COMPETITION Thursday August 18
Qualifying 9:55 am Auto Qualifying distance 20.65m – Finals 8:30pm
Everyone’s goal is to throw the Automatic Qualifying Distance with as little energy as possible. However, rarely do 12 throwers exceed the Automatic Distance.First timers often blow all their adrenaline in the qualifying round and are flat in the finals. Veterans can control their emotions and find “just enough to qualify” at 9:30am.
Its OK for a favorite to need two attempts to get the Auto Q mark, kind of ease into the right amount of effort to just get it over the line.
Highlights of qualifying were the HUGE roar from the stadium when the Brazilian putter set a new National Record. Jacko Gill lead the first Round with 20.80m.
Ryan Crouser opened the Second Round with an easy looking 21.59m. This distance was the best qualifying throw ever in the Olympic Shot Put. Maybe a bit farther than he wanted but it didn’t look like he was over amped. One throw and he was done for the morning.
Second best was 21.03 by Indoor World Champ and Rio Medal contender Tomas Walsh of New Zealand. I didn’t know the status of his health but was surprised David Storl qualified only 11th at 20.47m.
OK boys, back to your rooms, rest up and be ready tonight for the medal round.
I have always contended that when the final twelve throwers walk onto the floor of the stadium for the Finals, each athlete knows within one or two places where they will finish. The order is predetermined by the competitors’ perceptions of themselves and their competitors. Occasionally “Happy Accidents” can happen.
I didn’t walk onto the floor of the stadium to put the shot, thankfully, but I knew Joe and Ryan would be the top two. Joe after a long string of 22m competitions was under 22 at the Trials and then opened at a surprisingly low 19.59m, 64′ in the qualifying. After the Qualifying Round, the Gold seemed Ryan’s to lose. but Joe is a fighter and that’s why they have the competition!
The two favorites would open the throwing, Ryan first, Joe second. Could Walsh get close to 22m? Was Storl really out of it?
Joe bombed several over 22m in warmups, with full on emotion and energy.
This was to help him establish his 22m rhythm and perhaps for impact on the competition.
Ryan had seen it before, though, and sat out the “warmup competition”.
First throw for Crouser 21.15m, on target. We can’t control the other throwers but we can try to execute our plan.
Second throw of the competition, Joe hits a big one, 21.78m!
Wanting to see if the pressure of coming from behind would tighten up Ryan, Joe hoped he could jump on his first throw and he did.
Joe had also been well over 22m in training without fouling. The question was, could he find his rhythm to make these long throws, something that had been just off in the Trials.
His opener at 21.78m might get a medal but probably wouldn’t hold off Ryan. But it was a great start for Joe, something to build on.
The rest of the first round had a BIG National Record from Franck Elemba of the Congo at 21.20m, a beautiful glider, who moved Crouser to third.
Romani, the Brazilian, drew another INCREDIBLY HUGE roar from the crowd with another PR/NR at 21.02m in fourth place.
No one else was over 21m in the round.
1. Joe – 21.78m
2. Elemba – 21.20m
3. Ryan – 21.15m
4. Romani – 21.02m
Ryan wanted 22m in Round 2 and hit it, 22.22m a PR by 2 1/4″, and into the lead.
You just won the jackput er jackpot!! There is nothing better than throwing a PR, your life record, in the Olympic Final!!
Mission accomplished. Sit down and relax.
“Excuse me, Not quit yet please.
You told me to have fun and I have four more tries at fun, at expressing my passion for the throw.”
Joe just missed with a foul but was second, still within striking distance of Ryan’s 22.22m.
Tom Walsh moved into a tie for third with 21.20m but started to look like he wouldn’t get close to 22m.
1. Ryan – 22.22m
2. Joe – 21.78m
3. Elemba – 21.20m
3. Walsh – 21.20m
5. Romani – 21.02m
Ryan was told to have fun.
PRs are fun.
Don’t mind if I have another one, thank you, 22.26m!
Looked like he was loosening up a bit.
Joe is the only other thrower over 21m in Round 3
Now we get down to the top eight throwers for the last three throws.
Its shaping up to be Ryan and Joe for the first two places.
Ryan looked so connected to the ball, Joe was just a little off but capable of well over 22m.
1. Ryan – 22.26m
2. Joe – 21.78m
3. Elemba – 21.20m
3. Walsh – 21.20m
Reverse order now, shortest going first so Joe throwing ahead of Ryan who gets the last throw.
No one is over 21m, Joe fouls and Ryan misses at 21.94m (enough to win).
Walsh is finding his groove but its not going to catch the two Yanks, 21.35 and out of the tie and into sole possession of the Bronze Medal. Elemba moves down to 4th.
Joe had been working and building to get beyond his strong opener. He gets it in the fifth round as he unleashes his longest of the night just over the 22m tape but his right foot comes down on the top edge of the toeboard for a foul. All that work and build up for his longest throw of the night goes for naught and he is down to one last throw.
If fouling his biggest throw was deflating for Joe, the next throw, Ryan’s fifth attempt was the hammer, a PR by 26cm or 10″, a NEW Olympic Record 22.52m, 73′ 10″.
His third PR of the night!
His fourth throw long enough to win.
His feeling for the rhythm and the ball increased with each throw.
Being in third didn’t tighten him up after Round 1 because his distance was on target for his plan.
And that ladies and gentlemen was your Ball Game!
In the last three rounds only the Medalists had throws over 21m.
Walsh solidified his performance with his third throw over 21m, 21.25m and the Bronze Medal.
Last chance for Joe who now needed a near PR (22.56m) to win and was behind by 2′ 5″.
He had the Silver Medal in his pocket. Always a fighter, he made a good effort at 70′ 2″, 21.35m. All three of his legal throws were over 21m, 68′ 11″. A great performance!You can’t knock an Olympic Medal of any color.After having watched Joe for three years I can only say he just seemed a little off with his rhythm. But he fought and pushed on Ryan and won the Silver Medal.
Technique and feeling is not as easily managed and brought to a peak as strength.
It can be a bit mercurial with its coming and goings.
Sometimes its only a few days, but sometimes its an entire season.
Ask a golfer or a bowler or pitcher or batter or a shot putter.
And the new Olympic Champion steps in for his final throw.
A nice final attempt, but a semi-anti-climactic 21.74m, only 71′ 7″.
He executed his plan to a T.
After his training in the days before the competition it would have been a surprise had he NOT thrown 22m tonight.
The big question was How Far over 22m would he throw?
Looked to me like he still has more to go beyond 22.52m.
BUT WHO THROWS THREE LIFE RECORDS IN THE OLYMPIC FINAL?
HOW CAN A SPINNER HAVE SIX LEGAL THROWS IN THE OLYMPIC FINAL?
ALL THREE MEDALISTS WERE SPINNERS!
Gold Ryan Crouser 22.52m 73′ 10″
Silver Joe Kovacs 21.78m 71′ 5″
Bronze Tom Walsh 21.36m 70′
4th Franck Elemba 21.20m
5th Darlan Romani 21.02m
6th Tomasz Majewski 20.72m Olympic Champion 2012 & 2008
7th David Storl 20.60m World Champion 2011 Olympic Silver 2012
8th O’Dayne Richards 20.64m
From where we sit today its still a race between Joe and Ryan to 23m and then the World’s Record.
Note: As of Sept 3, in competitions after Rio Tom Walsh has moved his PR out to 22.20m!
Who would have thought of Crouser breaking Ulf Timmermann’s Olympic Record at the end of May when he threw only 66’6″ at the Pre?