Ryan Crouser, photo by Kevin Morris/ @kevmofoto
Ryan Crouser will be gearing up to win the World Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Deji Obeyingbo wrote this piece on the challenges in our sport, but how Ryan Crouser, fit, is pretty hard to beat. The men’s shot will be another one of the amazing events that fans will love in Eugene.
Should Ryan Crouser be worried about not winning Gold at the World Indoor Championships?
Athletics in its barest form is just running, jumping, throwing, and walking. With a bit of luck, competitive enough to provide excellent entertainment. Very few disciplines in athletics have provided the sort of excitement and subplots we have witnessed in the men’s Shot Put in the last half a decade, and the recently concluded World indoor Championships in Belgrade proved that this season might just provide yet another twist even the best of Hollywood directors will struggle to match.
Ryan Crouser was the cynosure of eyes going into the World Indoor Champs. Alongside the likes of Yulimar Rojas, Mondo Duplantis and Grant Holloway, they seemed the unstoppable force in their discipline. The question on everyone’s lips was if they could be stopped.
As things would take shape for Rojas, Duplantis, and Holloway, the same couldn’t be said of Crouser, who suffered a loss in the men’s Shot-Put final. The odds were stacked in his favor vehemently. There were over a thousand ways he could win. Yet, as fate would have it, he managed to lose in the final to Brazil’s Darlan Romani.
That’s the beauty of sports. Nothing is guaranteed. A bad day in the field, an injury, or poor form. Anything could happen. As with Crouser, it seemed a little bit of injury put a spanner in the works of winning his first Indoor title.
Ryan Crouser, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
“I’m having some trouble extending all the way on the ball and it’s definitely costing me some distance, I’m not fully finishing the throw, but we’re working on it, and it’s getting better. I’m not displeased with how it went. I would have been happy to win but was not expecting that a 22.44m would not. Huge congrats to Romani.” Crouser said after his loss in Belgrade
“I was really happy with how I started, but a little frustrated with how I threw in the latter rounds. I failed to prepare for the slowness of the comp. We were out there a long time.” he said.
Why all of this came as a surprise was because of how Crouser had flayed his opponents in the last two years, with his last defeat coming at the World Championships in Doha in 2019.
In 2021, he broke the indoor world record with 22.82m, the outdoor world record with 23.37m, and won all 14 events he contested. He opened his season at the Millrose Games, taking victory in a competition that was later voided due to a technical error. Crouser then took the US indoor title with a 22.51m throw in Spokane.
Still, it took a monstrous 22.53m effort from Romani to upset Crouser. But by the Portland native abilities, he easily can throw that on any good day. Which begs the question, should he be worried going into the World Outdoor Championships taking place in July in his home town, Oregon?
A lot will be hinging on how he bounces back from this minor setback. For all of his dominance, Crouser still doesn’t have a World Championship Gold he can call his own. Leading up to the summer, he knows he has to deliver on the grandest of stage.
In what is now growing to be a galaxy of stars of Shot Putters, Crouser still shines the brightest, despite his latest blip. A microscopic look at his results hints at that. He’s the only thrower capable of throwing 23m in decent conditions. There is the one-off chance the likes of Joe Kovacs, Tom Walsh, and Romani can pull off a Hail Mary throw as we saw in Doha, but no one is as consistent as Crouser.
Barring injury, he still looks the favorite to take the gong in Oregon. Psychologically, the defeat might take its toll, but that’s what great athletes are made of. The ability to bounce back, stronger and better.
It’s understandable that Crouser should seek to mitigate the danger ahead. For an athlete as an interventionist, it must be very difficult just to write off this defeat as being down to misfortune. Still, it is hard to believe that still, these defeats, in 2019 and in 2021, if played out multiple times, the American won’t win the contest with his rivals.
From a pure athletics point of view, Crouser should win the World Championships relatively easily. But this is not purely throwing for the two-time Olympic Gold medalist, it is a gigantic psychological test for how mentally strong he his.
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