Jeremy Campbell competes in the men's discus throw F46 final at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.
TOKYO – Team USA Para Track and Field athletes persevered to podium finishes despite rainy conditions on night seven of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Jeremy Campbell threw 60.22 to take home the men's discus throw F46 gold. Croatia's Ivan Katanusic earned silver with 55.06 Great Britain’s Dan Greaves edged out Team USA's David Blair to take bronze.
This competition was a quest for redemption for Campbell. The American won this event at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012 before finishing fourth in Rio 2016.
“Every gold medal is different but this one feels better than any of them just because it’s been nine years since London,” Campbell said. ”That’s the last time I was on the podium and so it just feels great to reclaim this one.”
Campbell's first throw held him in gold medal position. The rain poured down for the whole competition, creating challenges for every thrower. Campbell said it was the wettest ring he’s every thrown on.
“It was hard to navigate that,” Campbell said. “Luckily my rhythm when I throw is much slower than most so I felt like I did have an advantage because that’s how I throw. I was lucky to execute at least a little on the first throw to get one past 60. But I am absolutely surprised that 60.22 won this right now. If it wasn't for the weather, we were going to see some discs fly far today.”
Campbell said he and every thrower in the field expected to put up bigger numbers on Thursday night. He was heartbroken for his teammate David Blair, who took a couple hard falls in the competition.
“I’m gutted that he’s not going to be on the podium with me,” Campbell said. “I really wish there had been two guys up there representing the U.S. when the anthem is played. For this to happen, honestly I don’t know how to articulate it. It hurts. I was in that position. I got fourth in Rio, and it doesn’t feel good…Who knows what it would’ve gone like without the rain.”
At the end of the event, the Americans embraced. Campbell said he told Blair that wished the circumstances were different so they could’ve gone to battle for the gold medal.
“If he didn’t come along in the picture, I don’t know if anyone else in the Paralympic throwing scene right now would have pushed me to throw at the level that we’re throwing,” Campbell said “I couldn’t be extending the world record to 65.86 in May without David Blair alongside me. He has been crucial in my success so I’m very thankful for him.”
Campbell hoped his teammate will stay in the sport so they can continue to push each other and fight for podium spots. For now, Campbell planned to return home and relax, something he felt like he hasn’t been able to do in a long time.