Arkansas volunteer assistant Ryan Crouser advances to Olympic final with record qualifying mark

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FILE – In this June 18, 2021, file photo, Ryan Crouser competes during the prelims of men’s shot put at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. A simple question of describing their track and field craft led to some creative comparisons that might help the casual track fan better understand precisely what they do at the Tokyo Games. Shot put world record holder Crouser summarized what he does for a living with an illustration. He said his event was the equivalent of picking up the heaviest bowling ball and trying to throw it the length of a basketball court. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

TOKYO – One impressive toss of the shot put advanced Ryan Crouser, an Arkansas volunteer assistant, to the Olympic final as his mark of 72 feet, 4 ¼ inches (22.05) led the field of 12 who will compete again on Thursday at 11:05 a.m. (JST), which will be viewable at 9:05 p.m. (CT) Wednesday evening.

Crouser, the 2016 gold medalist and Olympic record holder at 73-10 ¾ (22.52), produced the best-ever mark in Olympic qualifying, surpassing the 70-10 (21.59) he established in Rio de Janeiro. In 2016, Crouser’s qualifying mark surpassed the previous best of 70-2 ¼ (21.39) by Finland’s Arsi Harji from 2000.

His mark in the qualifying round also ranks as the fourth-best performance in the history of the Olympic Games, bettering every Olympic shot put final except his performance in Rio as well as the 1988 Seoul Olympics, won by Germany’s Ulf Timmerman (73-8 ¾ | 22.47) with American Randy Barnes (73-5 ½ | 22.39) the silver medalist.

Crouser, who broke a pair of world records indoors and outdoors in 2021, was one of six throwers who surpassed the automatic qualifying mark of 69-6 ¾ (21.20).

New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh, the bronze medalist in 2016, had the next best qualifying mark of 70-6 ¼ (21.49). Meanwhile, American Joe Kovacs, Rio silver medalist and 2019 World Champion, ranked 11th among the 12 finalists with a toss of 68-8 (20.93). Both Walsh and Kovacs threw in all three rounds of qualifying.

Predictions heading into the Tokyo Olympics included Track & Field News and Athletics Weekly both opting for a reprise of the 2016 Rio Olympics medalist.

A repeat gold medal performance for Crouser would have him joining three others who have completed a successful Olympic title defense. It’s previously been accomplished by Tomasz Majewski of Poland (2008, 2012), Parry O’Brien of United States (1952, 1956), and American Ralph Rose (1904, 1908).

Six non-qualifiers for the shot put final surpassed the previous best mark of 66-11 ¼ (20.40) not to reach an Olympic final, led by the 68-5 ¼ (20.86) from Poland’s Michal Haratyk, who was just 1 ¾ inches (4 centimeters) shy of the last qualifier position, a 68-7 (20.90) by Payton Otterdahl, the third American to reach the final.

Razorback alum Kristoffer Hari, in the relay pool for Denmark, is scheduled to compete on Thursday morning in Japan during the opening round of the 4x100m relay. The prelims will air in the United States at 9:30 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday evening via USA network.

Tokyo Olympics | Arkansas schedule UPDATED

Day 7 – Thursday, August 5

11:05 a.m.M Shot PutFINALWednesday, 9:05 p.m.Ryan Crouser
11:30 a.m.M 4×100 RelayRound 1Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.Kris Hari – Denmark
19:20 p.m.W Pole VaultFINALThursday, 5:20 a.m.Tina Sutej

Day 8 – Friday, August 6

22:50 p.m.M 4×400 RelayFINALFriday, 8:50 a.m.(Kris Hari – Denmark)

Day 9 – Saturday, August 7

19:45 p.m.W 10,000mFINALSaturday, 5:45 a.m.Dominique Scott

Toyko Olympics | Arkansas results

Day 1 – Friday, July 30

 W 800mRound 1Shafiqua Maloney (7th in heat, 2:07.89)
 M 400m HurdlesRound 1Kemar Mowatt (4th in heat, 49.06) advances
 W 5,000mRound 1Dominique Scott (13th in heat, 15:13.94)

Day 2 – Saturday, July 31

 W 400m HurdlesRound 1Sparkle McKnight (did not start, covid positive)

Day 3 – Sunday, August 1

 M 400m HurdlesSemifinalKemar Mowatt (5th in semi-final heat, 48.95)

Day 4 – Monday, August 2

 W Pole VaultQualifyingTina Sutej (=1st overall) advances
   Sandi Morris (9th in group A, =16th overall)

Day 5 – Tuesday, August 3

 M Shot PutQualifying BRyan Crouser (1st qualifying, 72-4 ¼) advances

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