LONDON — The third time was the charm for Reese Hoffa in the men’s shot put Friday night in Olympic Stadium as the 2007 world champion won his first Olympic medal while competing in his third Games.
Hoffa’s medal keeps the U.S. streak alive in shot put medals begun in 1984. Other than the boycotted Games of 1980, the U.S. has failed to win a medal in the event only twice - 1936 and 1976. In both years, the top American placed fourth.
The 2008 and 2012 Olympic Trials champion, Hoffa
(Athens, Ga.) had looked to redeem a fifth-place finish at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships and did that on Friday, winning bronze with a best mark of 21.23m/69-8. 2008 silver medalist Christian Cantwell
(Columbia, Mo.) was fourth with a best of 21.19m/69-6.25, and Ryan Whiting
(Port Matilda, Pa.) was ninth with 20.64m/67-8.75. Hoffa and Cantwell had been tied for third after two rounds of throwing, but Hoffa’s 21.23 in the third round secured the bronze.
It was an extraordinarily closely contested competition, and as expected, the European throwers showed up in a big way on the biggest stage. None more so than 2008 gold medalist Tomasz Majewski of Poland, whose winning mark of 21.89m/71-10 was a seasonal best and the second-best winning throw in Olympic history, behind East German Ulf Timmerman’s Olympic record of 22.47 (two other throwers in 1988 also surpassed 21.89). David Storl of Germany was second with 21.86m/71-8.75.
In Friday night’s women’s 10,000m final, the field was undeterred by an early surge by the Japanese contingent, and the race soon began to play out in a more conventional running - and finishing - order. Ethiopians and Kenyans soon assumed control of the race. 2008 10,000m and 5,000m gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba successfully defended her 10km title, winning in 30:20.75 over Kenyans Sally Kipyego (30:26.37) and Vivian Cheruiyot (30:30.44). Americans Amy Hastings
(Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), Janet Bawcom
(Rome, Ga.) and Lisa Uhl
(Portland, Ore.) placed 11th (31:10.69), 12th (31:12.68) and 13th (31:12.80), respectively. It was a personal best performance for all three American women.
After four events and one day in the heptathlon, 2008 silver medalist Hyleas Fountain
(Port Orange, Fla.) is in fifth with 3900 points, Sharon Day
(Costa Mesa, Calif.) is 18th with 3740 points, and Chantae McMillan
(Rolla, Mo.) is 25th with 3602 points. Fountain threw 11.99m/39-4 in the shot put for 660 points and ran 23.64 in the 200 for 1016 points. Day threw a personal-best of 14.28m/46-10.25 for 813 points and ran 24.36 for 946 points; McMillan threw 14.92m/48-11.5 for 856 points and ran 25.25 for 864 points.
Americans into finals
(Austin, Texas) took one solid jump and left the field as he surpassed the automatic qualifying mark by 1 cm, with a leap of 8.11m/26-7.25, to advance to Saturday’s final of the men’s long jump. Will Claye
(San Diego, Calif.), jumped 7.99m/26-2.75 to advance. George Kitchens
(Hephzibah, Ga.) fouled on his first two attempts and went 6.84m/22-5.25 on his final jump. He did not advance.
American record holder Stephanie Brown-Trafton
(Galt, Calif.) will defend her Olympic title in the women’s discus after automatically qualifying with her third and final throw (64.89m/212-10). The mark exceeded her 2008 winning throw of 64.74m/212-5. Four-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond
had a best throw of 59.39m/194-10, while Gia Lewis-Smallwood’s
(Urbana, Ill.) best was 61.44/201-7; neither woman advanced.
In the men’s 1500m, all three men relied on a strong kick over the final 100m to secure their spot in Monday’s semifinal. Leo Manzano
(Austin, Texas) finished 6th in the briskly paced first heat in 3:37.00, and Matthew Centrowitz
(Eugene, Ore.) took 5th in the third heat in 3:41.39 to advance automatically. Andrew Wheating
(Eugene, Ore.) had to wait it out after finishing 7th in the second heat in 3:40.92, but was able to advance as the final qualifier on time.
Defending world champion Carmelita Jeter
(Inglewood, Calif.) set the tone for the Americans in the women’s 100m first round, running a blazing 10.83 to win heat 1, the fastest of the seven heats. Tianna Madison
(Sanford, Fla.) also dipped under the 11-second mark as she finished 2nd in heat 2 in 10.97, while Allyson Felix
(Santa Clarita, Calif.) won the final heat in a smooth 11.01 to advance to the semifinal.
Athlete Quotes - August 3 evening session
Reese Hoffa, Shot Put:
“When I started off the competition and started out in 20.98. The first thing that went to my mind was Daegu, because that how things started in Daegu. Then I backed that up with another 20.95 or something and I was like, ‘snap out of it Reese, you’ve got to snap out of it, because if I don’t execute Dylan or someone else will and get the medal.’ Throughout the entire competition I always thought chance that I would be able to hit a throw that might potentially win, but I think unfortunately there were a lot of delays. I’m an old dog and I came out with a medal, that’s pretty awesome.”
Ryan Whiting, Shot Put:
“I just didn’t have quite as much energy here after going through trials. Next year I might have to gamble and get a little less peak for trials and take a chance and hopefully peak in Russia. Reese did great for what he had on the day. It’s good for him to keep our streak alive and I’m happy for him. There is no one I’d rather have it than him.”
Christian Cantwell, Shot Put:
“I don’t do well in the cold, and competition is slow unfortunately. I live in an area that is pretty warm, and for me it was awfully cold tonight. I couldn’t stay warm. I warmed up well at the warm-up track, and between then and now I couldn’t stay warm. I gave it my best effort and it wasn’t enough. There wasn’t anything else I could do. I was ready, I was prepared, but I know the cold had a bit to do with it, but that’s the way it goes.”
Lisa Uhl, 10,000m: “It was the fastest 31 minutes and 12 seconds of my life. It flew by. Honestly, I just tried to find people to hold on to and stick on. I wanted to try to be top 10, so I just put myself between 10th and 15th place the majority of the time, and always tried to run behind someone because of the wind. I think I executed my race plan really well. I didn’t have what I wanted to have the last 800 meters, but I wouldn’t change anything. I feel like I did everything correctly. I dug deep when I had to and I ran a six second PR and a big season best, so it was a great experience.”
Amy Hastings, 10,000m:
“I was hoping for better, but you know I ran as hard as I could. I feel like I stayed tough throughout the whole thing and I’m just going to keep on working on improving my time and eventually I’m going to be able to run with those girls. They ran incredible.”
Janet Bawcom, 10,000m:
“It was fantastic, I couldn’t be any more proud to represent the country with so much support. It is a great opportunity for me to be there, wear the uniform and do the best that I can for sure. When I came out of the tunnel I was like ‘woo’ and then I told myself, ‘you are running a race’ so I just got in there and ran the race. It was just so exciting to run the last couple of miles and hear people screaming. I PR’d by 20 seconds, you can’t be disappointed with that.”
Hyleas Fountain, Heptathlon:
“It (the atmosphere) is amazing. Everyone is cheering for you, the athletes are just taking it all in. The track feels really fast, probably faster than Beijing. Of course I would love to win gold, but I would settle to be on the stand.”
Chaunte McMillan, Heptathlon:
“I’m looking forward to the javelin, but I have to be a long jumper first. I will have fun and enjoy it, but I have to get after it. It’s amazing (the atmosphere), I love it.”
Sharon Day, Heptathlon:
“It’s alright. Not where I want to be, even regardless of the high jump, it’s not where I want to be. I tied my PR, but I’m looking to do better. Every event I want to do better than I’ve done before. I’m gonna go home to the village, get some dinner, get a flush and an ice bath and try to get some really good sleep.”
Marquise Goodwin, Long Jump:
“‘One and done’, that’s the motto. I came out here and got it done. Finals are tomorrow, and I’m ready to go. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Will Claye, Long Jump:
“It was a little rough, but thank God I made it through, so I live to fight another day. I’m gonna come back tomorrow like today never happened and see what I can do to win that gold medal.”
George Kitchens, Long Jump:
“The wind was swirling today; you would have a headwind, you would have a tailwind. It was kind of tough making the adjustments along with the fast track and the fast surface, so it was just an adjustment thing, and I wasn’t able to make those adjustments as much as I wanted to today. It was a great crowd, and better than I expected it to be for a long jump competition. It was a packed crowd and everyone was enthusiastic for the event. I have nothing but great things to say about the stadium here and the people here today. the wind was swirling and I just couldn’t make the adjustments.”
Stephanie Brown-Trafton, Discus:
“I’m pretty happy with my throw. In the preliminary round it doesn’t matter as long as you make it to the final. I knew that after my second throw there was a good chance I was going to make it to the final, but I wanted to better that mark and prove that I’m going to be on the medal stand tomorrow. I’m ready to throw far, and I’m ready to get a medal. I’d love to walk out of here with a medal. I don’t even care which one. I’d love it to be gold, but I’d love to get a medal.”
Gia Lewis-Smallwood, Discus: “This was my first time in front of 80,000 people, you can really get uplifted by this crowd. This field is amazing. There is no other competition that compares. There are far more people here than worlds. I’m really proud that I came out and gave it my best.”
Aretha Thurmond, Discus:
“That won’t be enough to advance, but I felt good out there. I prepared, and I was ready. You never know sometimes what it is going to take in these qualifying rounds, and it looks like it is going to be pretty close to the auto, which is rare for it to take the auto in the throws, so they were throwing. I enjoyed being out there, and I was getting into the groove. My last throw slipped out of my hand a little bit, but you can’t take it back. I went out there, and I competed. I always have fun. If I didn’t enjoy this, I wouldn’t do it. It’s sport, and you win some and lose some.”
Allyson Felix, 100m:
“It feels really good to be underway. I feel really strong.”
Tianna Madison, 100m:
“I was amazed at how many people were there, and then how quiet it got when the starter started to speak. Every time you get in the blocks you just think, ‘execution, execution, execution,’ so in that sense the race was the same as any other race. tomorrow I look forward to having a completely perfectly executed race.”
Carmelita Jeter, 100m:
“I just had to come out and execute like my coach wanted me to do. I still have two more rounds to go. Everybody is definitely gonna be running their hearts out tomorrow, and right now I’ve just got to go back, talk to my coach and get prepared.”
Andrew Wheating, 1500m:
“I’m right on the bubble, I’m scared. I thought I would go to the lead and conserve energy by taking full advantage of my stride and not being pushed and shoved, but everyone started to move and get away from me. I decided not to press because I haven’t raced in over a month, and I’ve been swimming more miles than I’ve been running, so I wanted to try to utilize as much speed as I could without putting it all out there. I didn’t run with enough confidence”
Matthew Centrowitz, 1500m:
“It’s nerve racking like most heats, but you know I got into a little bit of trouble with 250 to go; some guy almost fell, so I was definitely trying to stay out of trouble in these hetas, and the guy falling right next to you makes that difficult. I was pleased with the finish.”
For full results and more information on the 2012 Olympic Games, visit www.usatf.org