RIO DE JANEIRO (KXAN) – The Rio Olympic games are creeping closer to the finish line, and Longhorns past and present are making a statement.
If there is such a thing as becoming a shot put superstar overnight, Ryan Crouser did just that. The University of Texas grad threw for a final distance of 22.52 meters (73 feet, 10 3/4 inches), setting an Olympic record and handing the 23-year-old a gold medal.
Though he’s an NCAA shot put champion, this was Crouser’s first Olympic Games. Over six attempts during Thursday night’s final, Crouser recorded the three longest throws in the world this year and ended up as the only competitor in Rio to surpass 22 meters.
Crouser was joined on the medal podium by American Joe Kovacs, the defending world champion. He took home the silver medal with a throw of 21.78 meters.
Crouser has a Masters in Finance from the University of Texas. He’s looking to compete in the 2020 games in Tokyo, but his next stop is Paris for his next competition.
On the track, Texas Ex Ashley Spencer stormed home to win Bronze in the 400 meter hurdles Thursday night with a time of 53.27 seconds.
Spencer’s pacing helped her towards victory. By the eighth hurdle she was in 6th place and with two more left to go, she pushed hard in the final sprint towards the finishing line, passing three other competitors to claim the Bronze.
Spencer’s medal was the 100th medal won by Team USA at the Rio Olympics.
KXAN’s Alicia Inns is in Rio. She caught up with both medalists and will have more tonight on KXAN News and on her twitter page @aliciainns.