Reese Hoffa, 2012 London Shot Put, photo by PhotoRun.net
Elliott Denman choose to write about Reese Hoffa, and his bronze medal in the shot put. Hoffa took home his first Olympic medal in three tries. David Storl of Germany took the silver and Tomasz Majewski won the gold. A great shot put competition….
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
LONDON – As a kid, Reese Hoffa was a very-very bad boy.
As the story goes – all true – as a four-year-old, he took a lighter to his
family home and it burned to the ground.
His single mom – understandably unhappy – took him to an orphanage, where
he was adopted by caring couple Stephen and Cathy Hoffa , who finally put
some order into his life.
Soon, the new Reese Hoffa emerged, very-very well behaved. He grew very-very
big and very-very strong, too.
He had hoped to be an Olympic champion by now.
But it didn’t happen Friday – he settled for the bronze medal in the shot put,
first final of the track and field phase of the Games of the XXX Olympiad.
He’s still a very-very proud three-time Olympian.
He’s done so much: twice a world champion, outdoors 2007, indoors 2006; three
times a U.S.outdoor champion and twice a U.S. indoor champion.
But his Olympic ambitions have always landed a tad short.
Hoffa’s five-ringed dossier: Just 22nd and a non-qualifier at Athens in 2004;
(B) seventh at Beijing in 2008; (C) Third Friday in London. Thirty-one years after the
arson episode, Hoffa won the Olympic shot put bronze by whirling around the Olympic
Stadium ring and sending the 16-pound iron ball on a flight of 69-11 Â¾, good but
not good enough.
He’d gone 72- 2 Â¼ at the Trials, 71-6 Â¾ at the Prefontaine Classic, 71-3 Â½ at the
Kansas Relays. He was a regular past 70.
But it was Poland’s Tomasz Majewski and Germany’s David Storl doing the 70-plus
Storl took the early lead with his 71-8 in round one and 71-8 Â¾ in round two.
But Majewski edged ahead by a single centimeter with his 71-9 in round three
and stretched it to 71-10 to clinch the gold in round six.
USA’s Christian Cantwell, second-placer at Beijing in 2008, settled for fourth
this time. Teammate Ryan Whiting had a tough day and landed ninth place, a
sureshot disappointment for a man who’s gone 72-2 Â¼ (taking the gold at the
World Indoor Championhips in Istanbul.
A University of Georgia graduate and representative of the New York Athletic
Club, Hoffa had every hope of becoming America’s Olympic first Olympic shot
king since Randy Barnes at Atlanta in 1996.
Instead, Majewski became the first shot put repeater in 56 years.
Once upon a time, Team USA virtually owned the men’s Olympic shot put, winning
the event 17 times in the first 27 Games held.
But there’s definite recent slippage – the last four Olympic shot put golds have
gone to the delegates of Finland, Ukraine, Poland and Poland again.
The USA has had a pantheon of past Olympic shot kings, the likes of Barnes,
Mike Stulce, Randy Matson, Dallas Long, Bill Nieder and Parry O’Brien.
(IFull disclosure: Both Barnes and Stulce were subsequently disbarred as drug violators.)
Almost surely, this will be Reese Hoffa’s final Olympic bid.
He’s said there’s practically no hope you’ll see him in the
Trials for the 2016 Beijing Games.
He’s had a very-very superlative career.
The very-very bad boy thing is in the far distant past.
His many fans say it’s just very-very unfortunate he never got the
invitation to climb to the top rung of an Olympic podium.