The men's shot put has been a field event at the modern Olympic Games since their inception in 1896. The following list includes information on the last five men to capture Olympic gold in the event:
Tomasz Majewski: A native of Poland, Majewski won the shot put gold in Beijing four years ago with a heave of 21.51 meters. His mark was significantly better than silver medalist Christian Cantwell of the U.S., who took the silver with 21.09 meters.
Majewski is an imposing figure at 6 feet 8 inches in height and weighing some 300 pounds. Shoulder problems limited him a couple of years ago, but Majewski should be in the mix for another medal at this summer's London Olympics.
Others to watch for in London should include young German David Storl-the 2011 World Championships gold winner, and Americans Reese Hoffa and Ryan Whitling. Whitling captured the gold at the 2012 World Indoor Championships.
Yuriy Bilonoh: Bilonoh, the 2003 World Championships bronze medal recipient, took the gold in Athens in 2004 by putting the shot 21.16 meters. He defeated American Adam Nelson, who threw the same distance, because Nelson did not have another qualifying throw in the final.
Arsi Harju: Harju won the 2000 Olympic shot put title with a throw of 21.29 meters, surpassing the best mark of silver medalist Adam Nelson of the U.S. by 9 centimeters. Harju was a solid performer in European meets over the years, but the Sydney Games represented his first and only win on the world stage.
Randy Barnes: The American heaved the shot put 21.62 meters to defeat fellow American John Godina on home turf in 1996 in Atlanta. Barnes was also the 1988 Olympic silver medalist in the event. Barnes' place in Olympic history is not without controversy, though. He first received a two-year suspension for steroid use in 1990, and then was banned for life after another positive result in 1998.
Mike Stulce: Stulce led a one-two American finish in the shot put at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. He put the shot 21.70 meters to best teammate Jim Doering. Stulce won the Olympic title after serving a two-year suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
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- Tomasz Majewski