U.S. shot putter Ryan Crouser defends his Olympic title with gold in Tokyo

U.S. shot putter Ryan Crouser celebrates with his father and coach, Mitch Crouser.
U.S. shot putter Ryan Crouser, left, celebrates with his father and coach, Mitch Crouser, after winning gold at the Tokyo Summer Olympics on Thursday.
(Matthias Hangst / Associated Press)

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.


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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.