Ryan Crouser etched his name in the history books when he recorded a 23.37m throw at Hayward Field in Oregon during the 2021 US Olympic Track and Field Trials to set a new world record. USA's Randy Barnes held the previous outdoor WR in the men's shot put, which stood the test of time for 31 years.
Needless to say, Crouser was elated with his throw. The moment he released the 7.26kg metallic ball, he knew he had smashed it big. The power of the throw and angle generated was perfect. And once the official raised the white flag, Crouser screamed in jubilation.
"I've wanted that world record for so long. It feels like the weight has been lifted. I knew the strength and the power was there, I just had to get it onto the ball. To finally do it is special," Crouser said after the throw.
What makes Crouser special is his consistency. His season's best improved gradually since 2018 and he finally joined the 23 meter club in May 2021.
Throwing with his right arm, Crouser keeps his right toe at a medium height during his half turn. It is neither too high nor too low. This allows his left leg to sweep quickly while spinning. The next task for Crouser is to ensure the ball is thrown as far towards the left as possible.
At the 2021 USA Throws Festival, Crouser deployed a similar technique. However, the ball landed a little bit right towards the center and the mark was placed at the 23.01m. At the US Olympic Track and Field Trials 2021, the world record throw landed just a bit right beside the dead left corner of the legal sector.
The technique sounds simple but is difficult to implement. Crouser hasn't deviated from this strategy since the beginning of the year and his efforts have borne fruits.
Unlike Randy Barnes, Crouser has remained clean so far. Barnes served a 27-month suspension for anabolic steroid usage in 1990. He followed it with a lifetime ban after testing positive for Androstenedione in 1998.
Who are Ryan Crouser's challengers at the Tokyo Olympics 2020?
Crouser won the gold medal in the men's shot put in 2016 and will be looking forward to becoming the fourth man in history to retain his Olympic title, following in the footsteps of Ralph Rose, Parry O'Brien, and Tomas Majewski.
At the 2019 World Championships, he finished second behind his country mate Joe Kovacs. At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Crouser will represent the USA alongside Joe Kovacs and Payton Otterdahl.
Crouser remains the only athlete to throw over 23 meters in 2021. The European trio of Michal Haratyk (Poland), Filip Mihaljeiv (Croatia), and Armin Sinancevic (Serbia) can pose him a challenge in the finals alongside New Zealand's Tomas Walsh.
However, it would be nothing but a monumental upset if Ryan Crouser doesn't come out with a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in the men's shot put event.