Olympic roster spots await men's throwers, decathletes


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

EUGENE, Ore. - Olympic Team roster spots will be on the line when U.S. men's standouts Adam Nelson, Bryan Clay, Reese Hoffa, Breaux Greer, Christian Cantwell, Ian Waltz, Jarred Rome, A.J. Kruger, Kibwe Johnson and Mike Hazle among many others, compete at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, June 27 - July 6 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The top three finishers in each competition, who have met Olympic performance standards, will earn the ultimate prize of a spot on the Team USA roster for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Shot Put

The "Golden Age" of U.S. men's shot putting continued last year as Reese Hoffa won the World Outdoor title in Osaka, Japan, and ended the season ranked #1 in the world. Two-time Olympic Games silver medalist Adam Nelson finished as the runner-up in Osaka and ended the season ranked #2 globally, and Christian Cantwell won the U.S. Indoor title prior to earning a #3 world ranking at season's end.

Nothing much has changed thus far in 2008 as Nelson, Cantwell and Hoffa continue their world domination. In March, Cantwell won his second World Indoor title in Valencia, Spain, and he currently has the #2 throw in the world this outdoor season with his winning toss of 21.76 meters/71 feet, 4.75 inches from his win June 10 in Modesto, Calif.

Nelson showed that he'll be very much at home at the Olympic Trials in Eugene after posting the world-leading throw this season of 22.12m/72-7 from his winning toss June 8 at the Prefontaine Classic, and Hoffa owns the third-best throw this season from his runner-up finish to Nelson at the Pre Classic with his best throw of 21.73m/71-3.50.

Not to be overlooked is 2007 World Outdoor Championships team member Dan Taylor, who was the runner-up at last year's USA Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis. Taylor's best performance last year was his winning toss of 21.57m/70-9.25 at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. He ended the 2007 campaign ranked #6 in the world. Two-time Olympic medalist John Godina also is expected to compete.

Others to watch include 2007 NCAA Outdoor champion and fourth-place finisher at last year's USA Outdoor Nationals Noah Bryant and 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships runner-up Russ Winger.


An evenly matched group of discus throwers will vie for three rosters spots on the Olympic Team led by 2007 World Outdoor Championships team members Ian Waltz, Jarred Rome and Michael Robertson.

A 2000 Olympian and two-time U.S. national champion, Waltz finished as the runner-up at the 2004 Olympic Trials and at last year's AT&T USA Championships in Indianapolis. Waltz ended the last three seasons ranked #1 in the U.S., and was ranked top ten in the world in 2005 & 2006. Waltz's throw of 68.90 meters/226 feet is the seventh best in the world this year.

He'll be challenged by two-time national discus champion (1997-1998) John Godina, 2004 Olympic Trials champion and 2005 World Outdoor seventh-place finisher Jarred Rome, who has ended the last four seasons ranked #2 in the U.S., and by 2005 NCAA champion and reigning national champion Michael Robertson, who won the gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Others expected to challenge include 2007 Pan Am Games silver medalist and USA Outdoor Championships fourth-place finisher Adam Kuehl, 2007 Pac-10 champion Greg Garza and 2004 Olympic Games sixth-place finisher Casey Malone.


2004 Olympian and two-time defending national champion A.G. Kruger is considered the odds-on favorite in the men's hammer throw in Eugene. Kruger, who has been ranked #1 in the U.S. the last two seasons, had a winning toss of 78.68 meters/258 feet 2 inches June 9 in Eugene, which is the best by an American this year.

2007 USA Outdoor runner-up and Pan Am Games silver medalist Kibwe Johnson will be looking to make his first Olympic Team after competing last year at the World Outdoor Championships in Osaka. Also look for 2007 USA Champs fourth-place finisher Travis Nutter, who will be in the mix.

Two-time Olympic hammer thrower Kevin McMahon will attempt to make a U.S. World Championships or Olympic Team for the first time since finishing fourth at the 2004 Olympic Trials. A two-time national champion, McMahon was ranked in the U.S. top ten every year from 1992 thru 2004, and was #1 ranked nationally in 1997 and 2001. His best throw this season of 75.08m/246-4 sits #3 on the U.S. list.


In winning the bronze medal at the World Outdoor Championships in Osaka last summer, American record holder Breaux Greer demonstrated that he is entering his prime, and if healthy, stands a good chance to win a medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

An Olympic finalist in 2004, Greer has won eight consecutive U.S. men's javelin titles and has been ranked #1 nationally every year since 2000. He ended the 2007 season ranked #3 in the world and posted the farthest throw in the world last year in winning at the USA Outdoor Championships with his American record toss of 91.29 meters/299 feet 6 inches. In 2008, he's had more than just track on his mind, shooting a season of "American Gladiators" on NBC, participating as the "Hurricane" character.

Others to watch include 2007 USA Outdoor Championships runner-up and Pan Am Games silver medalist Mike Hazle, 2007 NACAC champion and third-place finisher at Nationals Justin St. Clair and Leigh Smith, who owns the best throw by an American this season of 83.74 meters/274 feet 9 inches, from his May 9 win in Athens, Ga.


2005 world champion Bryan Clay is hoping to bounce back this season following a frustrating 2007 campaign where injuries kept him from finishing the decathlon at the USA Outdoor Championships and World Outdoor Championships. In his only full decathlon in 2007, Clay finished third in Gotzis with 8,493 points, the fifth-best mark in the world that year. He ended the 2007 campaign ranked #6 in the world. Clay's 2008 season got off to a strong start with his gold medal win in the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain.

After winning his fifth career U.S. title last summer in Indianapolis, 2003 World champion Tom Pappas was unable to finish the grueling 10-event competition at the World Championships in Osaka due to an injury. A native of Oregon, Pappas will be looking to qualify for his third Olympic Team, where his best finish was fifth place at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Others to keep an eye on include 2004 Olympian, 2007 USA Championships runner-up and two-time World Outdoor Championships team member Paul Terek, 2007 NCAA champion and third place finisher at U.S. Nationals Jake Arnold, 2007 NACAC winner Ryan Harlan and 2005 NCAA champion and 2004 NACAC winner Trey Hardee, whose score of 8,371 points from his win earlier this season in Austin, Tex., currently leads the U.S. list.

For more information on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, including status of entries and TV schedule, visit http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/OlympicTrials-TF/