At RunBlogRun, we like to give you, our kind and supportive readers, and viewers, a wide breadth of comments and opinions. We are pleased to be working with 4 young writers, thoughtfully observed by Lori Shontz, Professor of Practice/ Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon. We have worked with Lori before to seek out thoughts of young writers on the sport and media at Olympic Trials.
RunBlogRun has supported this program since 2016.
This piece on Valarie Allman is by Micheal Strite, who is studying under Lori Shontz at the University of Oregon.
We asked Micheal for something about himself, and this is what he sent:
““I am Polish-American and still have Polish citizenship. I am also legally certified to perform marriages in a handful of states.”
Perhaps, Micheal could offer to hold marriages at Hayward Field?
All pieces edited by Lori Shontz and Larry Eder
Valarie Allman Demonstrates Why She is One of the World’s Best
By Michael Strite
SOJC Track Bureau for RunBlogRun
EUGENE, Ore. — Valarie Allman spun her way to a comfortable victory in the women’s discus Throw on Saturday night, giving the United States a serious medal contender at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Allman’s best throw of 69.92 meters, or 229 feet, 5 inches, was over 24 feet farther than second-place finisher Micaela Hazlewood. Allman heads to Tokyo later this summer ranked top-five in the world, a significant improvement after missing the cut at the 2016 Olympic Trials by three feet.
“It’s impossible not to reflect on being here in 2016 and what that experience was like,” Allman said. “Coming in, I just had the goal of trying to make the Olympic team, and then I missed it by three feet, which was really bittersweet. But it was also in that moment that I really realized I wanted to try again to be an Olympian.”
Either of her first and second throws, 69.45 or 69.92 meters, would have secured a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics and the 2019 world championships. Allman also threw a meet record 70.01 meters during Friday’s qualifying round.
“I think it’s taken Americans a little bit of time to really find our footing on the international scene,” Allman said. “I credit my coach a lot for helping us come up with a really good approach to be able to build confidence on a world stage, but it’s easy in the United States to get caught up in just competing at domestic meets. We’ve taken the approach of trying to do international meets and experience what it’s like to be in competitions with really elite fields.”
At the 2016 trials, Allman finished sixth with a throw of 59.02 meters. By 2019,she had improved to seventh at the 2019 world championships with a throw of 61.82 meters.
Allman’s Olympic dreams started from her favorite movie, Miracle on Ice, which she watched often growing up. The patriotism and team spirit displayed by the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, which upset the heavily favored Russians in the semifinals, resonated with her. Allman mentioned the roaring fans of Hayward Field, with the cheering starting even before she stepped into the ring.
“I’m normally a pretty shy person, but today I couldn’t help but lean into it,” Allman said. “I feel like it really elevated my performance.”
The 26-year-old Allman’s goal for Tokyo is to once again hit 70 meters. Her biggest competition for the podium will come from defending world champion Yaime PÃ©rez of Cuba and two-time defending Olympic champion Sandra PerkoviÄ‡ of Croatia.
“To be in that position where you can see something so special but not quite achieve it really motivated me,” Allman said. “The last five years have been truly challenging but also so fulfilling. To work towards a goal and have it pay off today was really special.”