Ryan Whiting, ready for SOPOT, by Elliott Denman

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Ryan Whiting, photo by PhotoRun.net

Elliott Denman wrote this piece on Ryan Whiting, who became the fifth best shot putter indoors of all time today. 


By ELLIOTT DENMAN
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Okay, Sochi's over.
Enough already,  of the slalomists, the slopestylers,  the ice dancers, the puck-chasers, the skeleton sliders.
 They've done all their things. They performed noble deeds for 17 days.  They risked life, limbs, necks, skeletal structures and more. 
 Good on 'em all.  They did great stuff.
  They kept the five rings in the global spotlight.
  They got it all done without the slightest of those terrorist fears - oh-so-fortunately -  even coming close to reality.
Okay, they spent $58 billion to get it done, but that's Mr. Putin's business, certainly not ours.

Okay, so let's move on to another five-lettered East European So-town.

On to Sopot, everybody.

 It's going to be dazzling over there, great new venue and all, we can confidently predict.
 
  Just you wait and see.
  For starters, just you wait till folks like Ryan Whiting check in for their specialties.
  The Harrisburg, Pa.-reared Arizona State grad is ready and more than able and willing.
  He suffered through disappointment in the circles of London (2012) and Moscow (2013.)
  But he was tree-mendous in the ring at the 2012 Indoor Worlds at Istanbul and he's prepared to be tree-mendous all over again at the 2014 Sopot Indoor Worlds, March 7-9.
  He was tree-mendous in Albuquerque Sunday.
  Twenty-seven-year-old Whiting is now number five all-time men's shot putter in indoor track history.
His 22.23-meter / 72-11 ½ bomb in the fifth round of the USA Indoor National Championship not only demolished the hopes of the best of the rest gathered at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Sunday's final day program but sent out some mighty shockwaves to wherever strongmen gather. 
Check out these newly revised IAAF all-time indoor shot put charts:
    Number one, USA's Randy Barnes, 22.66/ 74-4 4 ½ in 1989.
   Number two, Germany's Ulf Timmermann, 22.59 / 74- 1 ½ in 1989.
   Number three, USA's Adam Nelson, 22.40/ 73-6 in 2008.
  Number four, Switzerland's Werner Gunthor, 22.23/ 72-11 ¼ in 2008.
 And by a little past noon on the 23rd of February, 2014...Number five, USA's Ryan Whiting.
 He had to come from behind to win it, adding to the drama.
   Ashland (Ohio) College grad Kurt Roberts seized the lead with his 21.50/ 70-6 ½ PR whirl in
  round three.
   Penn State alum Joe Kovacs, who had stunned Whiting and others to win at Boston two weeks ago,
still hovered near the lead, too, and would reach 21.46 / 70-5 in round five
  And at that point Whiting declared "enough is enough."
  He sent the 16-pound ball flying on a splendid journey, reaching the distant barriers on a single
bounce.
  When the reading came in - 23.23 - he reacted with predictable joy.
 And when he fouled his finale, it really was over.  There were male hugs all
 around - hey, how would that have played out in Sochi? - as the stirring contest was declared over.
  ""Mentally, I'm a lot more ready (than in previous world outings)," Whiting declared.  

  "Going into Sopot, I've got a lot more this year. There's no reason I can't be a contender (at the very least).
 "I'm just getting stronger in general, I think that comes with age.
"My second throw, 21.33 (69-11 ¾), that was a good start. I knew what I
 was doing wrong, and I just tried to fix it on the last two.

" The other two guys (Roberts and Kovacs) just proved that no mark is safe in USA shot putting."
 
A monster-sized poster of Christian Cantwell peered down on all the SP
proceedings at the Convention Center.
 
But the real Cantwell wasn't on the premises.
He's still on the rehabbing list.

Likewise for Reese Hoffa, rehabbing, too.

Gone from the game - and formally retired - is Adam Nelson.

But, know what?

No Cantwell, no Hoffa, no Nelson?

USA shot putting is still in very strong hands, thank you very much.

If there's a single event heading into Sopot that can give American
fans real confidence, it's the men's shot put.

One torch has been extinguished.

It's time to light the flame of expectations for the Rio Games of 2016.
And head on over to the SP ring for a tree-mendous preview.

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