U.S. Olympic trials: Ryan Crouser breaks men's shot put world record as 6 earn tickets to Tokyo

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·Yahoo Sports Columnist
·4 min read
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EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 18: Ryan Crouser competes in the Men's Shot Put final, throwing for a world record of 23.37 meters during day one of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 18: Ryan Crouser competes in the Men's Shot Put final, throwing for a world record of 23.37 meters during day one of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The shot put vector at the new Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. extends about 25 meters — or roughly 82 feet — from the launch point circle athletes use.

And on Friday night, in front of a partisan crowd, Oregon native Ryan Crouser dang near threw beyond the vector.

Crouser, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, broke the world record in his fourth of sixth throws, putting the 16 pound ball 23.37 meters (76 feet, 8.25 inches). 

He shattered the mark of 23.12 meters (75-10) set in May 1990 by fellow American Randy Barnes.

The 28-year-old Crouser has been flirting with the record this spring, after setting a new indoor world record in January (22.82m, 74-10.5). Last month he had a throw of 23.01m, the third-longest ever, and farthest since Barnes' record-setter.

Crouser knew the moment it left his hand that it was a special throw, raising his arms over his head in celebration even as he was finishing his spin and exiting the circle.

In the preliminaries earlier Friday, his first throw of 22.92m (75-2.2) broke the American Olympic Trials record.

"It was a really special moment for me, coming back [to Oregon], first time in the new Hayward, in fifth grade I was here in the Junior Olympics throwing javelin," Crouser told NBC, adding that he'd dreamed of this moment since he was a young kid starting out in the sport. "After trying for [the record] for so long, it felt like a weight was lifted."

Crouser will be joined in Tokyo by Joe Kovacs, the reigning World Champion (Crouser was silver medalist in that competition), and Payton Otterdahl, whose lifetime best of 21.92m in the fifth round earned him the third spot for the U.S. by three centimeters over Darrell Hill, who joined Crouser and Kovacs in Rio in 2016.

Three other athletes also earned Olympic berths on Friday night, in the men's 10,000 meters: former University of Portland All-American Woody Kincaid; Grant Fisher, the 5000m NCAA titlist in 2017 for Stanford; and former Colorado standout Joe Klecker. All three will go to the Olympics for the first time. 

In other events Friday, all preliminaries, Allyson Felix moved on in the women's 400m with the fourth-fastest opening-round time, 50.99 seconds. Felix, already the most decorated woman in American track and field history with nine Olympic medals, is aiming to make her fifth team, this time as mom to a toddler. Semifinals for the event are Saturday at 10:20 p.m. ET.

As expected, reigning World Champion Donovan Brazier (1:45.00) leads the pack heading to the semifinals in the men's 800m. University of Southern California's Isaiah Jewett, fresh off his first NCAA title last weekend, is also headed to the semifinals.

Valarie Allman set a U.S. Trials record in women's discus with a throw of 70.01m (229-8), and heads to the finals with her spot in the Olympics seemingly secure: the next-closest throw in the preliminaries was over eight meters behind Allman.

In the women's 100 meters, young star Sha'Carri Richardson continued her impressive spring with a 10.84 second first-round effort to lead the pack. Reigning U.S. champion Teahna Daniels (11.02 seconds) and 35-year-old three-time gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta (11.27 seconds) also moved on to the semifinals.

Day two of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials begin Saturday at 4 p.m. ET with the start of the men's decathlon. NBC and NBCSN will air events beginning at 8 p.m. ET.