U.S. shot putter Ryan Crouser defends his Olympic title with gold in Tokyo
Ryan Crouser sent a couple of messages on Thursday.
The 2016 Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the shot put defended his title, winning with an Olympic record throw of 76 feet 5 ½ inches at Olympic Stadium.
Afterward, Crouser took out a piece of paper. It had a note penned to his late grandfather, Larry, who died just before Crouser left for Tokyo to compete in the Olympics.
“GRANDPA, WE DID IT. 2020 OLYMPIC CHAMPION!”
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Crouser said he took his first throw in his grandfather’s backyard.
“The day before I had to leave, I threw a shot, and it went right through the roof of his garden shed, so I had to go back the next day and replace that,” Crouser said. “He played a huge role in my throwing career.
“So, to lose him the week before coming to the Olympics obviously was sad. But I feel like he was able to be here in spirit.”
In June at the U.S. Olympic trials, Crouser established a world record by throwing 76-8 ¼.
On Thursday, he said his grandfather lost his hearing in his final days, so he communicated with him by writing notes.
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“I sat with him for a few hours after the trials and was able to tell him I was the world record holder,” Crouser said. “And he watched that throw on the iPad thousands and thousands of times.
“So, I just felt like that was the last note that I wanted to write to him, that I didn’t get the chance to. I know he was here with me in spirit, and I know he would be proud if he was here.”
Joe Kovacs of the United States won the silver medal with a throw of 74 ¾ inches. Tomas Walsh of New Zealand won bronze with a mark of 73-8 ¾.
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