(L-R) Joe Kovacs, Ryan Crouser and Josh Awotunde pose for a photo during the medal ceremony of the men's shot put final at the 2022 World Athletics Championships on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon native Ryan Crouser and American teammate Joe Kovacs put on a grand show again Sunday night.
Crouser, the two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, overcame the defending world champion Kovacs in front of an enthusiastic Hayward Field crowd to lead the second Team USA podium sweep in as many days at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Crouser, of Boring, Oregon, trailed Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, native Kovacs in the fifth of six rounds in the men’s shot put final. But Crouser delivered a powerful heave of 22.94 meters to take the lead just after Kovacs went a season-best 22.89 meters as the crowd at Hayward Field roared. The performance not only won the competition for Crouser but also set a championship record. And he did it at a stadium (albeit rebuilt) where he’s competed since he was in grade school.
“I remember throwing in this ring when I was 12 years old,” said Crouser, now 29. “Seventeen years later, this is more that I could ever dreamed of.”
Josh Awotunde completed the Team USA sweep by throwing 22.29 meters to win a bronze medal, his first career world championships medal. The men’s shot put sweep followed another U.S. sweep in the men’s 100-meter Saturday, led by Fred Kerley.
Kovacs displayed three fingers for a U.S. sweep as he walked past the crowd and a TV camera.
“We always say we’re the best shot put country, and today we proved it,” said Kovacs, who finished second behind Crouser at each of the last two Olympic Games. “We got three medals. We are really excited to have this for the U.S.”
The shot put medals were just part of a huge day for Team USA, with American athletes winning nine medals Sunday, including four golds. In three days of the meet, the U.S. has won 14 medals, including two sweeps and six gold medals.
Just minutes before Crouser won the men’s shot put, Olympic women’s pole vault champion Katie Nageotte went toe-to-toe with fellow American Sandi Morris for that world title. Both successfully cleared 4.85 meters and fell short at 4.90, but Nageotte won via tiebreaker.
“I just tried not to think too much about the things that happened earlier,” said Nageotte, of Powder Springs, Georgia. “I am proud of the jumps that I had.”
Morris missed out on the finals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 when her pole broke in the prelims. She now has three world championships silver medals to go with the Olympic silver medal she won at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
“After Tokyo, this silver medal hurts more than any because I was like: maybe this was my turn,” she said. “But it just was not. I am going to stand up and fight even harder next year.”
Just minutes after that, Olympic silver medalist Grant Holloway led a one-two U.S. finish in the men’s 110 hurdles. He won in 13.03 seconds, followed by Trey Cunningham in 13.08 seconds.
“At the start, it was just me, my lane and my space, and I was ready for whatever happens,” Holloway, of Gainesville, Florida, said. “I am really excited for my second world title outdoors.”