By Madeline Ryan
SOJC Track Bureau
On Thursday, DeAnna Price returned to the hammer cage at Hayward Field for the first time since the Olympic trials in June 2021. The evening marked an emotional moment in what has been a year-long journey of recovery after injuries prevented her from going to the Olympics in Tokyo.
Price was ready to show how far she had come. She stepped into the throwing circle, and on her first throw, sent the hammer 239 feet, 5 inches (72.99 meters) to immediately set a new season-best.
She released a thunderous shriek. The crowd, collected by the gates overlooking the hammer field, cheered with her.
Price finished in fourth place with a second-season best of 239-8. She didn’t have to make it to the top three in the final because, as a 2019 World Championships gold medalist in the hammer throw, she is already qualified to go to the worlds in July.
“Yesterday was exactly 10 months since I had ankle reconstruction surgery, and nine months since hip labral surgery,” Price said between tears. “Throwing two season bests — I was really, really happy about it because it’s been really, really hard.”
Along with Price, three other American women will be going to worlds. Brooke Andersen, the current world leader in the hammer throw, finished with a winning throw of 255-9. Janee Kassanavoid finished second with a 249-6 throw and Annette Echikunwoke finished third with 242-0.
This means that for the first time ever, the United States will send four women to a hammer throw world championship. And they have a good shot at winning.
Andersen, who finished 10th at the Tokyo Olympics, became a U.S. champion with a throw only 2 feet short of Anita Włodarczyk’s Olympic gold-medal winning throw last summer. Włodarczyk, who competes for Poland, is out this season due to a left thigh injury she suffered when she tried to stop a thief who broke into her car. This leaves a chance for an American woman to take home the gold.
Andersen said she hopes to make it to the podium in July.
“We have a great group of girls, and I believe it is all within their ability and my ability to achieve a high podium standing for the U.S.,” Andersen said.
“To have four women for the first time ever in the United States is so exciting,” Price said. “I cannot wait to rewrite history with these ladies in less than a month.”