EUGENE – After $270 million was spent on the new renovations to Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, they may need to pay to extend the shot put landing sector for Ryan Crouser. On his fourth throw of the evening, the 2016 Olympic champion took ownership of the world record with a 23.37-meter throw.
Crouser has been on a historic tear since the start of the year. In March, he broke the indoor world record and has openly spoken about the world record being his goal since 2017.
“I felt like I was 10 pounds lighter as soon as that popped up on the leaderboard,” Crouser said. “I hadn’t realized how much that had been weighing on me.”
Randy Barnes’ 23.12 world record had stood since 1990, but it’s widely regarded as one of the last-standing tainted records. Barnes was banned for two years by the IAAF for using the anabolic steroid methyltestosterone and then came back to win the 1996 Olympic gold medal before being slapped with a lifetime ban two years later for androstenedione.
“The sport has changed so much since then,” Crouser says. “Drug testing has cleaned up the sport exponentially. The level of clean competition now is phenomenal. All I can say is that with the regimen of drug testing we go through, I’m happy to say the world record is under the current system. Nothing against the former world record holder but it was a different time in track and field.”
Crouser threw his arms up in the air knowing it was far enough and broke Barnes’s mark by eight inches.
Reigning world champion Joe Kovacs threw 22.34m for second place to clinch his second Olympic berth. He took a silver medal behind Crouser at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
25-year-old Payton Otterdahl, who won the 2019 NCAA indoor shot put title for North Dakota State, took third to clinch his first Olympic team.
Other notable news from Day 1:
- Woody Kincaid closed the men’s 10,000m with a 53-second final lap to win the men’s 10,000m. The former Portland Pilot started off his professional career riddled with injuries but showed great promise in 2019 with a 12:58.10 for 5,000m. When healthy, his closing speed is dangerous and it showed. His Bowerman Track Club teammate Grant Fisher took second in 27:54.29. Joe Klecker, the son of 1992 Olympian Janis Klecker, held on for third place in 27:54.90. All three runners are headed to their first Olympics.
- Shelby Houlihan, who was handed a four-year suspension after testing positive for the banned substance Nandrolone, was removed from the women’s 1,500m start list before the start of the meet. Confusion ensued after USA Track and Field listed her on the starting list Wednesday evening and a spokesperson said she would be able to run because she had not exhausted all her appeals. Houlihan says that her attorneys sought an emergency injunction with the Swiss Federal Tribunal that was not granted and she had no plans of competing if the injunction wasn’t granted.
- The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, World Athletics and the Athletics Integrity Unit all put an end to Houlihan’s hopes of competing by Thursday evening. Houlihan and her representatives say she tested positive as the result of eating a burrito 10 hours before her out-of-competition test in December. Eating certain pork has previously led to traces of Nandrolone in urine samples. The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s panel “unanimously determined that Shelby Houlihan had failed, on the balance of probability, to establish the source of the prohibited substance.”
- In the women’s 5,000m, just four women would be eliminated in the first round. Abbey Cooper, who tore her ACL in the 2016 Olympic final and still finished the race, made a gutsy decision to break from the pack to try and run faster than 15:10 to secure the Olympic standard. It paid off as the Hayward Field fans got loud as she dropped a 68-second final lap to run 15:07.80. She now just needs to finish in the top three in Monday’s final to make her second Olympic team.
- Sha’Carri Richardson is the United States’ best hope for a gold medal in the women’s 100 meters. She posted the fastest time of the first round of the women’s 100m with a 10.84 (0.9 m/s).
- Allyson Felix, who is trying to make her fifth Olympic team and her first as a mother, safely advanced through the first round of the women’s 400m as she cruised to a 50.99 win in her respective heat. She will run again Saturday in the semifinals at 7:20 p.m. PDT.
- There was no major surprise in the first round of the men’s 400 meter and 800 meters, as all the favorites safely advanced to the semifinals.
Full results from the first day of the meet can be found here.