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.
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.