In a scarcely believable feat, three Olympic shot-putters won the exact same medals at Tokyo 2020 as they did five years ago at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This makes it the first time in the 125-year history of the Olympics that the same athletes have taken the exact same medal in individual events at successive Olympic Games. The same was confirmed in a social media post by the Olympics.
While Team USA's Ryan Crouser won the gold medal at the Tokyo Games as well as in Rio de Janeiro, USA's Joe Kovacs took home silver on both these occasions. Moreover, Team New Zealand's Tome Walsh won bronze both in Tokyo as well as Rio.
It should be noted that Crouser threw 23.30 metres – eight centimetres short of his world record – to break his Olympic record set in Rio 2016 to win the gold, and held a note honouring his late grandfather, who died a day before he left for Tokyo, after his win.
"He got me started throwing," Crouser said after his gold-medal-winning effort as quoted by The Guardian.
"I threw in his yard until eighth grade. The day before I had to leave I threw a shot, and it went right through the roof of his garden shed, so I had to go back the next day and replace that," he added.
"He played a huge role in my throwing career. I sat with him for a few hours after the trials and was able to tell him I was the world record-holder. And he watched that throw on the iPad thousands and thousands of times. So I felt that was the last note I wanted to write to him, that I didn’t get the chance to," he further said.
"I know he was here with me in spirit and I know he would be proud if he was here," he concluded.
Meanwhile, Kovacs credited his wife and coach for his impressive show.
"The heat was a battle, I’m a big guy. My wife really helped me play this out. She knows I overheat quickly. I didn’t do any throws outside the stadium, I was keeping ice packs on myself. That was definitely a factor, everybody got a bit tired at the end," he said.