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3 U.S. Men’s Hammer Throwers Invited To Compete At Rio Olympics

By Craig Bohnert | July 14, 2016, 1:26 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Conor McCullough, Rudy Winkler and Kibwe Johnson stand on the podium for men's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field at Hayward Field on July 7, 2016 in Eugene, Ore.

Hammer throwers Rudy Winkler, Kibwe Johnson and Conor McCullough have been added to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team after the IAAF extended invitations to fill out the event.

Only 23 throwers had achieved the Olympic qualifying standard of 77.00 meters, leaving nine spots available for distribution by the IAAF to complete the 32-athlete field. The Americans received invitations as the top three finishers at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field.

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Winkler, currently ranked No. 33 in the world, won the Olympic Trials with a personal best throw of 76.76 meters, followed by Johnson, ranked No. 21, who was second with his 75.11-meter effort. McCullough, ranked No. 27, placed third, throwing 74.16 meters.

A rising senior at Cornell University, Winkler, 22, earns his first Olympic team selection. His winning throw at the Olympic Trials exceeded his prior personal best of 75.10 meters by 1.66 meters and made him the first collegiate athlete since 1956 to win the Olympic Trials hammer throw, when Albert Hall, who also attended Cornell, took the title. He placed second at the 2016 NCAA outdoor championships after finishing 10th indoors.

Johnson, who turns 35 on July 17, tied for ninth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, his first Olympic appearance. His throw at the trials was his best this season, but 5.20 meters shy of his personal best of 80.31 meters in 2005. He has medaled at the last three Pan American Games, taking silver in Rio in 2007, then setting the Pan Ams record in 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico, with a throw of 79.63 meters. He defended his title last summer in Toronto with a 75.46-meter effort. He won the U.S. outdoor title in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

McCullough, 25, is a two-time medalist at the junior world championship, including gold in 2010 and silver in 2008. He won bronze at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games with a toss of 73.74 meters. Originally from Canoga Park, California, he began his collegiate career at Princeton, then transferred to USC, where he won the 2015 NCAA outdoor championship. His father, Conor, was a three-time national hammer throw champion for Ireland who competed at the Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

Related Athletes

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Kibwe Johnson

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Conor McCullough