USA’s Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs Take Gold and Silver in Shot Put

United States' Ryan Crouser celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's shot put final, during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
United States’ Ryan Crouser celebrates winning the gold medal in the men’s shot put final, during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Ryan Crouser’s fifth attempt in the men’s shot put final traveled a distance 22.52 meters (73 feet, 10 3/4 inches), setting an Olympic record and handing the 23-year-old American a gold medal.

Within minutes, he was joined on the medal podium by another member of team USA, Joe Kovacs (21.78), giving the country gold and silver in the discipline for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh (21.36) finished in bronze. Combined, the USA and New Zealand combined to take five of the six medals awarded across the men’s and women’s events.

“It’s an amazing experience,” Crouser said. “I can’t even describe it. To have my friends and family here, it could not have been better. My family is so supportive and appreciative. It’s been a month since I have seen them, I am so excited about that — a gold medal is just a bonus. There is a big team of my relatives with Team Crouser T-shirts on.”

Crouser’s gold completes his quick rise from college star to the top professional shot putter in the world.

It wasn’t until at last month’s U.S. team trials that he exploded on the international stage, posting a winning distance 22.11 meters to post an upset win against Kovacs, who finished second.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Paul Myerberg