Somewhere Under a Double Rainbow


Continuing from the previous post about yesterday’s shot put competition in Zagreb, I thought these two shots deserved their own. How many times, really, do you see Olympic medallists reaching for double rainbows?

Above is Tom Walsh of New Zealand, a recently-minted Olympic bronze medallist in the shot put. Below is Ryan Crouser, the Olympic gold medallist. I can’t image either has thrown in a similar setting too often.

More images from the competition are here; my report for the IAAF is here. Enjoy!



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2016 Zagreb World Challenge Shot Put – 11 Images

2016 Olympic champion Ryan Crouser

2016 Olympic champion Ryan Crouser

That’s Olympic champion Ryan Crouser of the US, who prevailed in a shot put-only competition in Zagreb last night, part of and prelude to the annual Hanzekovic Memorial IAAF World Challenge meet in the Croatian capital.

I’ve covered this meet most years since 2003 but this was my first time I made it for the shot put, which began as a separate competition in 2013. Despite the rain, it was a great event, festive, with the crowd very much involved. The throwers loved it to, and it showed.

Crouser threw 22.28m, beating Tom Walsh of New Zealand, who reached 22.21. For Crouser it was the second best throw of his career and for Walsh, his third continental record in nine days. It marked the first since 1988 that two men threw beyond 22.20m in the same competition.

The intro to my report for the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body:

Ryan Crouser prevailed in an eagerly anticipated reunion of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games medallists as the 66th edition of the Hanzekovic Memorial IAAF World Challenge meeting got underway with a festive shot put-only competition in the City Fountains Park in central Zagreb on Monday (5).

After a pair of narrow back-to-back defeats to New Zealand’s Tom Walsh over the past nine days, the newly-crowned Olympic champion turned the tables with a 22.28m victory in this attractive amphitheatre style setting, the second farthest throw of his career.

“Every time I throw against Tom and Joe (Kovacs) it’s a great competition, they’re awesome throwers, so I knew it would probably take 22 metres to win,” said Crouser, whose victory in the Croatian capital was the fourth 22-metre competition of his career.

The rest.

Ten more photos are below to help you put a face to a name. Beginning with Tomasz Majewski of Poland, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, whose appearance in Zagreb was the last of his professional career.

What’s next for the gentle giant?

“I’m just going to enjoy my life for a while,” he said, smiling widely.

I wish him nothing but the best.

Tomasz Majewski in the last competition of his career

Tomasz Majewski in the last competition of his career

Continue reading…

100m Hurdles World Record Holder Kendra Harrison: ‘I’m in the shape of my life’

Kendra Harrison before her race in Lausanne 2016

Kendra Harrison before her race in Lausanne 2016

From my feature on recently-minted world record holder in the 100m hurdles, Kendra Harrison, for the IAAF. I spoke with her before and after her race in Lausanne’s yesterday.

Kendra Harrison is in demand.

That’s rare for an athlete in an Olympic year who didn’t compete at the Olympic Games. But the 23-year-old hurdler isn’t a typical athlete. She is one who broke a world record which had stood for 28 years just two weeks after she failed to qualify for the US Olympic squad in the 100m hurdles. That story and the athlete behind it demands attention, and Harrison is relishing it.

“I love it,” Harrison said of the attention she’s attracting, as a line of journalists patiently wait to speak with her after her 12.42 victory in the Lausanne leg of the IAAF Diamond League on Thursday evening, her first outing since her sensational 12.20 world record in London.

“After I broke the American record, that’s when I started getting a lot more press. The pressure’s going to keep getting easier for me to handle. So I’m going to keep getting better and better at that.”

That 12.24 performance at the Eugene leg of the IAAF Diamond League brought more attention Harrison’s way, but it also upped the pressure building on her petite shoulders as the national selection meeting approached. That ultimately led to her one bad day this season and a sixth-place finish at the US trials on that same Eugene track.

The storyline is now clear to athletics fans. Instead of calling it a season, Harrison, the fastest hurdler in the world, decided to forge on and make the most of it, which brought her to London and the world record to her. That, however, didn’t make watching the Olympics from her couch any easier.

“It was tough,” Harrison said. “It was tough watching it but that was something that I needed to do and something that I wanted to do. I wanted to still cheer my teammates on.”

Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin swept the medals in Rio, seemingly vindicating the notoriously difficult US selection process. No one was more pleased than Harrison.

The rest is here.