He made his grandpa proud
Ryan Crouser locked up his second consecutive gold medal in the shot put and then held up a handwritten sign to the camera.
“Grandpa, We did it,” it read. “2020 Olympic Champion.”
Crouser’s grandfather, Larry Crouser, was the person who introduced him to the shot put. Ryan practiced in his grandpa’s backyard in Oregon until he became strong enough that one throw went through the roof of the garden shed.
Larry was there to support Crouser as he blossomed into the most dominant shot putter in the world. At Texas, Crouser won four NCAA championships and then took gold in Rio. In recent years, after Larry lost his hearing, Crouser would sit with him and write him notes to communicate.
Larry died last month, the day before Crouser left for Tokyo, but he was still a source of strength as Crouser prepared to defend his Olympic title. A few days before the competition, Crouser was feeling anxious. American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks had been knocked out of the competition by a positive COVID-19 test and Crouser was worried about the possibility of the virus sending him home empty handed. To calm his nerves, he took out a marker and a piece of paper and wrote a note to his grandpa, hoping to show it to the world after the competition.
“That was the last note I wanted to write to him,” Crouser told reporters.
Crouser’s performance in the final was spectacular. He bested his own Olympic record with three of his six throws. His final throw was the longest of the day, measuring 23.30 meters (76.4 feet), just .07 meters shy of the world record he set at the Olympic trials in June.
Crouser’s grandpa was alive to see him shatter the 31-year-old world record and, because the trials were in Oregon, Crouser was able to pay him a visit after.
The note he passed him was straightforward: “World-record holder.”
“He watched that throw on the iPad, thousands and thousands of times,” Crouser told reporters on Thursday. “He’s been my biggest fan.”
One last reminder about the giveaway in Tuesday’s Hot Clicks. I still have one prize pack to award.
The best of SI
Pat Forde reflects on watching his daughter Brooke capture a silver medal in Tokyo. ... Kevin Durant stepped up once again as the U.S. advanced to the gold medal game. ... The Knicks didn’t land a major star but did they do enough to improve their standing in the East? ... Noah Lyles was thinking about his brother after winning bronze in the 200-meter dash.
Around the sports world
J.T. Ibe, who was cut by the Panthers after a dirty hit in practice, apologized for the tackle. ... Nearly 500 cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin might be tied to the Bucks’ “Deer District” watch parties. ... 11 people have been arrested for directing racist abuse at three Black England players after the Euro 2020 final. ... A pro golfer missed out on his first PGA Tour start when he missed a one-foot putt in a sudden-death playoff at a qualifier. ... Tom Brady will be in Canton this weekend for Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame induction. ... Bryson DeChambeau’s justification for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine (that he’d be taking one away from someone who needs it, when the U.S. has more than enough doses) is a load of crap.
Ending the Olympics in style
New uniform, same Javy
I think Olympic gold probably feels a little better
The movement on Scherzer’s pitches is mesmerizing
Orioles shortstop Richie Martin made a few slick plays against the Yankees
Climbing has been an electric addition to the Olympic program
Netflix is coming out with a documentary about the Malice at the Palace
This name is straight out of 1903
A former Disney Jungle Cruise ride operator reviews the new Dwayne Johnson movie. ... A Miami server says she was fired from her job for refusing to serve alcohol to teens. ... An 81-year-old man who has spent 27 years living off the grid in the New Hampshire woods is at risk of being forced to vacate his cabin. ... Eating frozen honey is the hot new TikTok trend, despite the risk of terrible diarrhea.
What a country
A good song
Email email@example.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.