The men's shot put competition was one of the best events of the Trials, so far, with the emotional one (Adam Nelson), versus the Huge one (Christian Cantwell) versus the formerly Masked one ( Reese Hoffa).
The shot put was a very popular event in 2004 in Sacramento, when Christian Cantwell, a prohibitive favorite, finished fourth and out of the money. The hot, humid weather kept his hands moist, and it did cause some concern, but Christian got himself into fourth, then third, then, into first with his fifth round throw.
Reese Hoffa fouled on his first then moved into first in the second round. He lost first to Christian Cantwell and his throw of 21.29 m in the fifth round.
Adam Nelson, the 2000 and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, admitted to being nervous, comparing himself to a college junior, as he was in 1996, when he placed sixteenth in the Olympic Trials. " I should have just relaxed," Nelson said in an interview in the Eugene Register Guard. Nelson admitted to his heart poundng like his first time in the Trials twelve years ago. Fouling on four of his six attempts, Nelson held on to third place with a throw of 68-6 1/2, just three inches ahead of new star Dan Taylor, who threw 20.80m or 68-3 to Nelson's 20.89m.
In the last round, Christian Cantwell, pretty secure on the team, threw a final 20.82m, or 71-2 3/4 bomb, the farthest of the meet, SO FAR.
Then, in the final throw of the meet, Reese Hoffa timed it perfectly, spinning around the ring and blasting a huge 22.10 meters or 72-6 1/4 to take the gold!
"When you are throwing against quality competition, and know there are five guys who can go 70 feet at a moment's notice, it kind of gets to you, " Hoffa understated to the press corps.