RIO DE JANEIRO — Ryan Crouser’s fifth attempt in the men’s shot put final traveled a distance 22.52 meters (73 feet, 10 3/4 inches), setting an Olympic record and handing the 23-year-old American a gold medal.
Within minutes, he was joined on the medal podium by another member of team USA, Joe Kovacs (21.78), giving the country gold and silver in the discipline for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh (21.36) finished in bronze. Combined, the USA and New Zealand combined to take five of the six medals awarded across the men’s and women’s events.
Crouser’s gold completes his quick rise from college star to the top professional shot putter in the world.
It wasn’t until at last month’s U.S. team trials that he exploded on the international stage, posting a winning distance 22.11 meters to post an upset win against Kovacs, who finished second.
Following Thursday’s dominant performances, Crouser and Kovacs give the USA a pair of world-class shot putters with room to improve even further during the four years leading into the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Both are first-time Olympians, though Crouser isn’t the first member of his family to compete in the Summer Games. His father, Mitch, was an alternate on the USA discus team at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, while his uncle, Brian, was a two-time Olympian in the javelin.