EUGENE, Ore. – The file was older than him.
When he broke it, Ryan Crouser knew immediately.
The 28-year-old, who built a training pit at his Arkansas home to keep on point during the coronavirus pandemic, broke a world shot put record Friday night that was set 2 1/2 years before he was born.
On Day 1 of the US Olympic Trials, he hoisted the massive medal ball 23.37 meters to write his name in the record book and punch his ticket to Tokyo, where he will have the chance to defend his Olympic title next month.
Virtually everyone in this close-knit group knew that the 75-10 1/4 (23.12) record that Randy Barnes had held since May 20, 1990 was in jeopardy. Earlier this year, Crouser broke the Barnes indoor record. Earlier on Friday, during qualifying, Crouser lifted 75-2 1/2 inches (22.92) to set the American Olympic trials record.
Even before the fourth of his six attempts had sunk in the dirt on a mild, sunny evening at Hayward Field, Crouser raised his arms to celebrate. As it landed, well beyond any other markings, there was a collective gasp from the quarter-filled stands.
About half a minute passed while officers checked the distance. When the marker popped up on the board confirming that he had broken one of the oldest records in the book, he was ambushed by his competitors near the circle.
Well-wishers included world champion Joe Kovacs, who finished second, and Payton Otterdahl, who finished third.
A few minutes later, Crouser posed proudly in the field. The picture: He is standing next to the scoreboard with his thumbs raised and the words “Weltrekord” highlighted in green on the board next to his new record.
Crouser, who finished second behind Kovacs at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, never missed a training day in 2020, even as the coronavirus pandemic brought things to a standstill worldwide. He built a self-made shot put ring, which he constructed from two sheets of plywood and screws from Home Depot.
On the opening day of the trials, there were also strong first-lap performances from 800-meter world champion Donavan Brazier and sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who chose orange as the hair color of the day and set the fastest 100-meter time (10.84 seconds). . High jumper Vashti Cunningham – the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham – easily qualified for the final and discus thrower Valarie Allman set a meet record with her throw of 229 – 8 (70.01) in qualifying.
In the only other final of the night, Woody Kincaid sprinted the final distance to stop Grant Fisher and win the 10,000 meters. Both run for the Bowerman Track Club. Kincaid finished the race in 27: 53.62. Joe Klecker came in third.
All received a second bill to Crouser.
He can hardly be overlooked in a track meeting. The 320 pounder consumes about 5,000 calories a day to keep the weight on his body from 6-7. His diet consists of two large breakfast burritos in the morning, a pound of ground beef for lunch, and three of the four servings of a food delivery service in the evening.
That meal helped build a champion – and now he’s a world record holder too.