WHITING AND PENNSYLVANIA...
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
When Ryan Whiting unleashed a mighty throw of 22.05 meters / 72 feet, 4 1/4 inches - the
eventual winner - in the fourth round of the men's shot put at the 15th edition of the International Association of Athletics Fderations' World Indoor Championship on Friday evening, March 7th, in the sparkling Ergo Arena in Sopot, Poland, it did a whole lot of things.
Well, let's open the list:
(1) He became just the third man ever to take World Indoors shot put gold on more than
one occasion. Ulf Timmermann, of the then-East Germany, had won it in 1987 and again in 1989. After winning it in 2004, USA's Christian Cantwell regained the World Indoors crown in 2008, and then claimed it a third time in 2010. Whiting had won his first global at Istanbul in 2012 at 22 meters even.
(2) So, when you add in Reese Hoffa's 2006 triumph, that extended the U.S. winning streak in World Indoors shot putting to a remarkable six straight. Factor in John Godina's 2001
win and it makes seven U.S. winners over the last eight World Indoors meets.
Check a little further and you'll see that Manuel Martinez of Spain edged Godina for the
2003 gold by a single centimeter - 21.24 to 21.23 - and you'll see how easily the U.S. streak might have reached an amazing eight.
(3) There are 13 men's events on the World Indoors program and never has the U.S. streak of six been equaled. Unless you stretch the facts, that is. This meet actually began with the
trial run of the World Indoor Games in Paris in 1985, but that meet is not reckoned as an
official World Indoor Championships. Anyway, Sergey Bubka won the pole vault for the Soviet Union in that 1985 meet, then won it officially in 1987, 1991 and 1995, but the latter for the
now-independent Ukraine. In between, Radion Gataulin took the 1989 vault for the
Soviet Union and the 1993 event for Russia. So that would make six, but pin an asterisk on it.
(The longest run of individual success at World Indoors is Ivan Pedroso's five consecutive wins for Cuba in the long jumps of 1993-95-97-99-2001, including the meet record of 8.62 / 28-3 1/2 set in 1999. All Whiting needs to equal that is to win now through to 2016, 2018 and 2020 !)
(4) It sent waves of pride all the way back to Central Pennsylvania.
The 27-year-old Whiting is a 2006 graduate of Central Dauphin High School in Harrisbury, the Pennyslvania capital City.
After winning three NCAA shot put golds for
Arizona State, and eight NCAA All-America certificates, he's back close to home now,
training his heart out at the word-class Penn State facilities and serving the PSU program as
a volunteer assistant coach.
(5) With all that he has achieved in the shot put ring, it has launched a lot of other
thought. For sure now, Whiting is the greatest shot putter the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has ever developed, but how about all the other men's events on the track and field spectrum? Who'd be his teammates on the all-time, all-Pennsylvania team?
Some very quick research reveals the all-Pennsy men's team could be as lustrous as this one (which generously takes in all those either born or raised in the Keystone State, went to school or college there, or spent chunks of their life living there.)
(6) Sprints: Barney Ewell, Frank Budd, Paul Drayton, Leroy Burrell, Jon Drummond, Lee McRae, John Haines, Edwin Roberts; High Hurdles: Roger Kingdom, Erv Hall, Jim Gehrdes, Alvin
Kraenzlin; 400: Bill Carr, Larry James, Herman Frazier, Charles Jenkins Jr. and Sr., William Reed, John Taylor; 400 Hurdles, Charley Moore, Josh Culbreath, Mike Shine; 800, John Woodruff, Earl Eby, Arnie Sowell, Donald Paige, John Marshall.
Middle distances, Ted Meredith, Eamonn Coghlan,Marcus O'Sullivan, Dick Buerkle; Steeplechase and Distances, Horace Ashenfelter, Curtis Stone, Browning Ross, Viz Zwolak, Pat Traynor, Greg Fredericks, Bill Reilly, Alex Breckenbridge, Louis Tewanima; Racewalkers, Steve Hayden, Carl Kurr, John Abbate.
High Jump, Phil Reavis; Pole Vault, Don Bragg, John Uelses; Long Jump, Eulace Peacock, Herb Douglas, Bill Rea, Dion Bentley; Triple Jump, Ira Davis, Bill Sharpe, Ed Lennex; Shot Put, Ryan Whiting, CJ Hunter, Joe Kovacs, Ron Semkiw; Discus, Brian Milne, Knute Hjeltnes; Javelin, Al Cantello, Brian Chaput, Barry Krammes, Bill Alley, Nick Vukmanic; Decathlon, Jim Thorpe,Barney Berlinger, Fred Samara, Jim Wooding.
(7) Governor Tom Corbett, are you listening? When do you plan to invite Mr. Ryan Whiting over to the State House, for some serious track and field conversation ?