Shot put is one of the most popular throwing events of the Olympics, as the world’s strongest athletes compete to see who can reach the furthest mark. The United States has enjoyed its fair share of success in the shot put at recent Olympics and looks to build on those accomplishments in 2021.
The defending men’s Olympic champion and world record holder is American Ryan Crouser. The U.S. also had the silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Games in Joe Kovacs.
Will Crouser and Kovacs have a repeat of their previous Olympic success, and will a new woman rise to dominate the shot put event for the Americans?
Here is everything you need to know about the men’s and women’s shot put events in Tokyo:
Watch all the action from the Tokyo Olympics live on NBC
How can I watch shot put at the Tokyo Olympics?
Below is the streaming schedule for Olympic shot put competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
- Women’s qualifying round: Friday, July 30, 6:25 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Women’s final round: Saturday, July 31, 9:35 p.m. ET (Stream)
- Men’s qualifying round: Tuesday, Aug. 3, 6:15 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Men’s final round: Wednesday, Aug. 4, 10:05 p.m. ET (Stream)
You can get more details on how to watch Olympic shot put through NBC Olympics’ full streaming schedule for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
How does the Olympic shot put competition work?
The Olympic shot put event in 2021 will feature a qualifying round and final for both men and women.
All athletes will be required to meet the qualifying standard set by World Athletics to earn a spot in the final. Athletes are divided into two groups (A and B) and given three attempts to meet the qualifying standard with the best attempt counting. The athletes that meet the standard will automatically reach the final round. If fewer than 12 athletes hit the qualifying round mark, the next highest-ranked athletes will advance to the final.
The final will consist of six rounds. After each athlete has thrown the shot three times, the lowest-ranked athletes (usually four or more depending on if more than 12 athletes make the final) are eliminated from the competition. The remaining eight competitors will have three more attempts. If the competitors are tied at the end of those three attempts, the next best attempt will be declared the winner.
How much does a shot put weigh?
A shot is a metal ball that weighs 16 pounds for men and 8.8 pounds for women. The goal of the throwers is to put the shot as far as possible from the seven-foot diameter circle at the front.
What are the current shot put world records to beat?
American Ryan Crouser holds the current men’s shot put world record after he threw 76 feet, 8 ¼ inches at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. Crouser also set the Olympic record at the 2016 Rio Games with a 73 foot, 10 ½ inch throw to win gold. Only two shot put world records have been set in the Olympics, both by Americans, and Crouser has a strong chance to be the next.
The women’s shot put world record holder is Natalya Lisovskaya, who threw 74 feet, 3 inches in June of 1973. While Lisovskaya holds the world record, Ilona Slupianek set the Olympic record in the first round of the 1980 Moscow Games with a 73 foot, 7.86 inch throw.
Who will be competing for Team USA in the men’s shot put?
Ryan Crouser enters the 2020 Tokyo Games looking to defend his shot put Olympic title. Crouser will make his second Olympic appearance after winning gold in 2016.
He won a silver medal at the 2019 world championships behind Joe Kovacs in one of the greatest shot put competitions ever. Crouser comes from a family of throwers, including his father Mitch, who was a discus alternate on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and his cousin Sam, who competed in javelin at the 2016 Rio Games.
Kovacs is a two-time world champion that ranks second in the world behind Crouser. Kovacs took home the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games and also placed second at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a 73 foot, 3.5 inch throw to make his second straight Olympic team.
The Powell, Ohio, native was the 2015 world champion and won the silver medal at the 2017 world championships, ahead of Crouser.
In 2019, Kovacs beat Crouser again. Kovacs has won medals in four straight major international competitions and will look to add to his collection in Tokyo.
Payton Otterdahl edged 2016 Olympian Darrell Hill with a personal best of 71 feet, 11 inches to earn the third and final spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
While Otterdahl narrowly beat Hill by an inch, the versatile 25-year-old thrower only started focusing solely on the shot put a year ago. In 2015, he was the Pan American under-20 discus champion.
Otterdahl was crowned the 2019 NCAA indoor shot put champion. He also placed second in the discus and fourth in the shot put at the 2019 NCAA outdoor championships.
Who will be competing for Team USA in the women’s shot put?
Jessica Ramsey set an U.S. Olympic Trials record in June by eclipsing Olympian Michelle Carter’s mark with a 66 foot, 0.25 inch throw. The 30-year-old became the fourth U.S. woman to throw more than 20 meters in the shot put and ranks No. 2 in the world.
At Western Kentucky University, Ramsey became the first athlete from the school to qualify for at least three individual events at the NCAA outdoor championships. She was named a first-team All-American in the shot put, second-team All-American in the hammer throw and honorable mention in the discus.
Raven Saunders earned the nickname “The Hulk” for her gravity-defying shot put throws while wearing the mask of her favorite superhero. At the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, she threw a personal best of 65 feet, 6 inches while wearing the mask and came in second place, good enough to make her second straight Olympic team.
The 25-year-old won an NCAA outdoor title with Southern Illinois and the University of Mississippi. After earning a 2016 Olympic berth, Saunders won the 2017 national title and came in 10th at the 2017 World Championships. She currently ranks No. 3 in the world.
Adelaide Aquilla might be one of the newest athletes on the world scene, but the NCAA indoor and outdoor shot put champion made a name for herself in the U.S. Olympic Trials. She threw 62 feet, 2.25 inches on her first attempt, good enough to earn her third place and her first Olympic berth.