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US shot putter Ryan Crouser wins gold, breaks own Olympic record

Tokyo Olympics Athletics
Posted at 10:49 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 10:50:42-04

Ryan Crouser broke his own Olympic record on his way to defending his shot put title Thursday.

On his last attempt, Crouser went 23.30 meters to earn the first track and field gold for the American men at the Tokyo Games. U.S. teammate Joe Kovacs finished second and Tomas Walsh of New Zealand was third.

The 28-year-old Crouser went 22.52 meters when he won at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Crouser is already the world record-holder after breaking a 31-year-old mark on June 18 at the U.S. Olympic trials. His throw that evening went 23.37 meters.

In the heat at Olympic Stadium, Crouser took the lead on his first attempt and saved his best for his final one.

When he locked up the gold, Crouser brought out a handwritten sign and held it up for the cameras.

It read, “Grandpa, we did it. 2020 Olympic champion!”

Tokyo Olympics Athletics
Ryan Crouser, of United States, holds a sign while celebrating winning the gold medal in the final of the men's shot put at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)

ESPN reports that Crouser’s grandfather, Larry, was the person who introduced him to shot put. Sadly, he died last month, the day before Crouser left for Tokyo.

Before his grandfather died, ESPN says the Olympian would communicate with him via notes. On Thursday, the athlete told reporters that the celebratory sign was the last note he wanted to write to his grandpa.