Ryan Crouser
Crouser in 2019 at the Millrose Games
Personal information
NicknameRC23, The Union
NationalityAmerican
Born (1992-12-18) December 18, 1992 (age 31)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Height6 ft 7 in (201 cm)
Weight320 lb (145 kg)
Sport
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Shot put
Discus throw
College teamTexas Longhorns
ClubNike
Achievements and titles
Highest world ranking1st (Shot put, 2023)[1]
Personal best(s)SP: 23.56 m (2023)
DT: 63.90 m (2014)
JT: 61.16 m (2008)
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo Shot put
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Shot put
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2023 Budapest Shot put
Gold medal – first place 2022 Eugene Shot put
Silver medal – second place 2019 Doha Shot put
World Indoor Championships
Silver medal – second place 2022 Belgrade Shot put
World Youth Championships
Gold medal – first place 2009 Bressanone Shot put
Silver medal – second place 2009 Bressanone Discus throw

Ryan Crouser (born 18 December 1992) is an American track and field athlete who competes in the shot put and discus. He specializes in the shot put, in which he is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time World Champion. Crouser holds the world record in the shot put, both indoors and outdoors. He set the outdoor world record at 23.56 meters in May 2023, improving upon his previous record of 23.37 m from July 2021.

In his early career, Crouser set a national high school record for the indoor shotput and outdoor discus, and he won gold in the shot put at the 2009 World Youth Championships. At the University of Texas at Austin, he won four NCAA titles in the shot put. He has won the national title in the shot put at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in six of the seven times that the event has been held between 2016 and 2023. He is also a three-time national champion in the indoor shot put at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, with victories in 2019, 2020, and 2022.

Crouser achieved his first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with a throw of 22.52 m and retained his title at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, setting an Olympic record of 23.30 m. At the 2019 World Championships in Doha, he secured a silver medal. Crouser then went on to win gold at both the 2022 World Championships in Eugene and the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. His heave of 23.51 m in Budapest set a new record for the farthest throw ever at a World Championships.

Crouser has been named Track & Field News World Male Athlete of the Year. He has also been awarded USA Track & Field's highest accolade, the Jesse Owens Award, and has twice been a finalist for Male Track and Field World Athlete of the Year by World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field.

Early life and youth sports

Crouser was born on 18 December 1992 in Portland, Oregon and raised in the neighboring rural area of Boring.[2][3] He comes from a family with a background in throwing events.[4] His father, Mitch Crouser, was an alternate on the 1984 Olympic discus team. His uncle, Brian Crouser, competed in two Olympics in the javelin, while his other uncle, Dean Crouser, excelled in shot put and discus. His cousins, Sam and Haley Crouser, are also javelin throwers. Ryan started participating in track and field in the fifth grade and was competing at a high level by the time he reached high school.[5]

In 2009, his sophomore year at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon, Crouser set a national sophomore record with the 1.62 kg (3.58 lb) discus, throwing 61.72 m.[5][6] This mark was also the Oregon high school state record until Sam Crouser broke it the following year. Crouser won both the 5 kg shot put and the 1.5 kg discus at the 2009 National Youth Championships. This performance qualified him to represent the United States in both events at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy.There, he won gold in shot put with a championship record throw of 21.56 m and silver in discus.[7]

In his senior year in 2011, Crouser broke the national high school indoor record in the 5.44 kg (12 lb) shot put with a heave of 23.54 m.[8][9] This performance marked a rebound from Crouser's junior year, when he had been hampered by an injury to his foot. As a senior, Crouser also broke the national high school record in the discus by throwing 72.40 m to break Mason Finley's record from 2009.[9] After graduating from Barlow High School in 2011, Crouser opted to attend the University of Texas at Austin, diverging from his family's tradition of attending the University of Oregon.[8]

Collegiate competition

Crouser competed for the University of Texas at Austin from 2012 to 2016, where he won four NCAA titles in the shot put.[10] As a freshman, he dealt with a torn ligament in his throwing hand and illness, leading him to redshirt the 2013 indoor season.[11] His first title came as a sophomore at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he threw 21.09 m. Crouser, who had been successful academically, began to struggle with the heavy workload during his second year, and he opted to switch his major from engineering to economics.[12]

In his third year at the university, Crouser won another national title in the shot put at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships, throwing 21.21 m to defeat Stephen Mozia (20.06 m).[13] In July 2014, the 21-year-old won his third national title in the shot put at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships, recording a mark of 21.12 m. During this event, Crouser injured his left foot on his final throw after it collided with the toe board of the shot circle, leading him to withdraw from the discus event at these championships.[14] In his fourth year, the athlete placed second behind Stipe Žunić at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, reaching 20.93 m on his best attempt to Žunić's 21.11 m.[15][16] At the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Crouser placed fifth in both the shotput and the discus.

Due to red-shirting the 2013 indoor season, Crouser had one more winter of collegiate eligibility left, which he used for the 2016 indoor season. The fifth-year senior recorded a personal best of 21.73 m at the 2016 Big 12 Indoor Championships, and he secured his second collegiate indoor title and fourth title overall with his victory at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships. This performance matched Ryan Whiting's 2008 collegiate indoor record and moved Crouser into the second-place ranking on the 2016 world indoor list, behind Tom Walsh of New Zealand.[17] In June 2016, he was named a semi-finalist for the Bowerman, an award given by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association to the year's outstanding student-athlete.[18]

Senior competition

2016-2018: Gold medal at the Rio Olympics

Crouser raises his fist in victory.
Tomas Walsh (left), Joe Kovacs (center), and Crouser (right)

While preparing for the 2016 US Olympics trials, Crouser pursued a master's degree in finance at the University of Texas.[19][20] He trained under Mac Wilkins, a former Olympic champion in the discus. At the trials, Crouser defeated the reigning world champion, Joe Kovacs, to win his first national title and qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. On 8 August, Crouser won the gold medal in the event, setting an Olympic record with his throw of 22.52 m.[21][22] He was the first American man to win the event since 2004.

Crouser won another national title in the shot put in June 2017, and he competed in the event at the 2017 World Championships in London, where he finished 6th. At the 2018 USA Outdoor Championships on 23 June, he placed second with a throw of 20.99 m, behind Darrell Hill's 21.57 m. In the Diamond League, an annual series of international competitions, he won in Eugene with a throw of 22.53 meters, in Monaco with 22.05 meters, and in Zagreb with 22.09 meters.

2019: Silver medalist in Doha

Crouser at the 2019 USA Indoor Championships

Crouser began competition in 2019 with a victory at the Millrose Games in New York on 9 February, achieving a throw of 22.33 m. He followed this performance with another victory at the 2019 USA Indoor Championships on the 23 February.[23] In July, he won a national title at the 2019 USA Outdoor Championships, qualifying him for the 2019 World Championships in Qatar. At the World Championships on 5 October, Crouser threw a personal best (22.90 m) to finish behind Joe Kovacs (22.91 m), in what World Athletics called the “greatest – and closest – shot put competition ever”.[24]

2020: Fourth best throw ever amid COVID-19 pandemic

Crouser started the year with victories in the shot put at the Millrose Games and the 2020 USA Indoor Championships.[25] His competition schedule was halted until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the postponement of the 2020 Summer Games and the disruption of the international sports calendar. To cope with the frustration of these shutdowns and maintain his competitive edge, Crouser took part in bass fishing tournaments.[26] He also built his own shot put ring near his home.[27] On 19 July, he resumed competition on at the American Track League Meet, achieving a personal best of 22.91 m and the fourth best mark in history. The American ended the year undefeated in all 11 meets in which he participated.

2021: World record and gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics

On 24 January, Crouser set a world record for the indoor shot put at the American Track League meet. His throw of 22.82 m bested the previous record of 22.66 m that was set by Randy Barnes in 1989.[28][29] The 28-year old recorded another world record at the 2020 US Olympic trials in July 2021. He threw 23.37 m, eclipsing the previous outdoor world record of 23.12 m, held by Barnes since 1990.[30] His record-breaking throw was ratified by World Athletics on 11 August 2021.[31] At the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Crouser defended his Olympic title, winning gold and setting a new Olympic record of 23.30 m.[32] Out of his six throws at these Games, three exceeded the previous Olympic record

Crouser was named the World Male Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News[33] and received the Jesse Owens Award from USA Track & Field.[34] He was also a finalist for the World Athlete of the Year by World Athletics.[35] His achievements in 2021 included the three farthest throws in history, nine of the top ten marks of the year, maintaining an undefeated streak since 2019, and winning the Diamond League final. He also reached a career total of 163 throws over 22 m by the end of the season – the highest ever recorded and accounting for more than a third of all 22-m throws in the history of the sport.

2022: Gold medalist in Eugene

Josh Awotunde (left), Joe Kovacs (center), and Crouser (right)

On 27 February, Crouser finished first in the shot put at the 2022 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The following month, the American traveled to Serbia to contest the event at the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships. He earned a silver medal, behind Brazilian Darlan Romani. Crouser’s performance came amid nerve-related issues in his throwing arm.[36] The following summer, on 24 June, the 29-year old won a national title in the shot put, qualifying to participate in the event at the 2022 World Championships. On 17 July, Crouser won his first world title in the event, throwing 22.94 m. His victory led an American sweep of the podium, with compatriots Joe Kovacs and Josh Awotunde taking silver and bronze.[37]

2023: World record and gold medalist in Budapest

In 2023, Crouser bettered his own world record in the shot put, earned gold at the 2023 World Championships, and won 13 of his 14 competitions. His world record came on 27 May at the Los Angeles Grand Prix, where he thew 23.56 m.[38] The 30-year old attributed the performance to his development of a new technique, which he refers to as the "step-across".[39] This method adds a lateral stepping motion across the throwing circle, which differs from traditional rotational or glide techniques. It is designed to optimize balance and power, allowing for a more efficient transfer of energy during the throw.

On 9 July, Crouser won another national title in the shot put at the 2023 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.[40] This performance qualified him to represent the United States at 2023 World Championships later that month in Budapest, Hungary. Prior to leaving for Budapest, a medical exam uncovered two blood clots in Crouser's legs, prompting him to take blood thinners to reduce the risk of complications while competing.[41][42] At the event, the American won his second world title and established a new World Championship record, throwing 23.51 m. The American finished his season at the Prefontaine Classic on 17 September, where he experienced his first loss of the year, edged out by Joe Kovacs.[43] Following the season, World Athletics announced Crouser as a finalist for World Athlete of the Year.[44]

Training regimen and coaching

Crouser's training regimen consists of 20 to 40 meter sprints three times a week and three weekly sessions of dynamic jumping exercises like box jumps and bounding to enhance his agility and power.[27] He also uses an agility ladder to improve his footwork. For his core discipline, he practices shot put four to five times a week, each session involving 20 to 40 throws and lasting 90 to 120 minutes. In addition, Crouser draws training techniques from UFC/MMA and baseball pitching, focusing on the similarities in rotational power and body mechanics to increase the velocity and energy transfer in his throws.[45]

In terms of nutrition, Crouser consumes around 5,500 to 6,000 calories daily, especially when aiming to gain weight.[46] His diet is structured into five meals of approximately 1,000 calories each, supplemented by snacks to maintain consistent energy levels. His meals mainly consist of lean proteins, including chicken and ground beef, along with brown rice and quinoa. In an interview with GQ, the athlete stated: "Food is almost a part of training for me. I'm eating on a set schedule that makes sure I never get hungry."[27] He was also captured in the New York Times as stating that he follows each of his five daily meals with 16 ounces of milk, amounting to half a gallon a day.[47]

In December 2019, Crouser moved from the United States Olympic Training Center in San Diego to Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is a volunteer coach for the University of Arkansas men's track and field team.[48]

Achievements

All statistics from athlete's profile on World Athletics, unless otherwise noted.[49]

Crouser on the podium after winning the Zagreb Diamond League meeting in 2018
Crouser prepares to throw the shot put at 2022 World Championships in Eugene

Global championships

Representing  United States
2023 World Athletics Championships Shot Put 23.51m (77 ft 1+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2022 World Athletics Championships Shot Put 22.94 m (75 ft 3+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships Shot Put 22.44 m (73 ft 7+14 in) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2020 Summer Olympics Shot Put 23.30 m (76 ft 5+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2019 World Championships in Athletics Shot Put 22.90 m (75 ft 1+12 in) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2018 IAAF Continental Cup Shot Put 21.63 m (70 ft 11+12 in) 5th
2017 World Championships in Athletics Shot Put 21.20 m (69 ft 6+12 in) 6th
2016 Summer Olympics Shot Put 22.52 m (73 ft 10+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2009 World Youth Championships in Athletics Shot Put 21.56 m (70 ft 8+34 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 61.64 m (202 ft 2+34 in) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)

National championships

Representing  United States
2023 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 22.86 m (75 ft 0 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2022 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 23.12 m (75 ft 10 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2022 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 22.75 m (74 ft 7 23 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2021 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships also serving as

2020 United States Olympic Trials (track and field)

Shot Put 23.37 m (76 ft 814 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2020 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 22.60 m (74 ft 134 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2019 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 22.62 m (74 ft 212 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2019 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 22.22 m (72 ft 1034 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2018 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 20.99 m (68 ft 10+14 in) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2017 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 22.65 m (74 ft 3+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2016 United States Olympic Trials (track and field) Shot Put 22.11 m (72 ft 6+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2009 World Youth Track and Field Trials Shot Put 21.55 m (70 ft 8+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 63.33 m (207 ft 9+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2008 USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships Shot Put 17.48 m (57 ft 4 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 54.94 m (180 ft 2+34 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)

NCAA competition

Representing University of Texas at Austin
College championship Event Distance Place
2016 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.28 m (69 ft 9+34 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2016 Big 12 Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.73 m (71 ft 3+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 19.99 m (65 ft 7 in) 5th
Discus 60.18 m (197 ft 5+14 in) 5th
2015 Big 12 Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 20.52 m (67 ft 3+34 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 58.92 m (193 ft 3+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 20.93 m (68 ft 8 in) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
2015 Big 12 Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.14 m (69 ft 4+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.12 m (69 ft 3+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2014 Big 12 Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.39 m (70 ft 2 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 63.90 m (209 ft 7+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.21 m (69 ft 7 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2014 Big 12 Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 20.63 m (67 ft 8 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 20.31 m (66 ft 7+12 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 59.21 m (194 ft 3 in) 8th
2013 Big 12 Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 21.09 m (69 ft 2+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Discus 55.42 m (181 ft 9+34 in) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 18.50 m (60 ft 8+14 in) 16th
Discus 59.77 m (196 ft 1 in) 4th
2012 Big 12 Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 17.78 m (58 ft 4 in) 7th
Discus 56.01 m (183 ft 9 in) 5th
2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 19.94 m (65 ft 5 in) 5th
2012 Big 12 Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Shot Put 19.90 m (65 ft 3+14 in) 1st place, gold medalist(s)

World Athletics Rankings

Crouser's highest world rankings and season bests, per year[50]
Year World Ranking Season Best (metres)
2016 1 22.52
2017 1 22.65
2018 2 22.53
2019 2 22.90
2020 1 22.91
2021 1 23.37
2022 2 23.12
2023 1 23.56

Key:   World record

References

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  2. ^ Dennehy, Cathal (July 4, 2022). "Ryan Crouser and his pursuit of perfection". worldathletics.org. Retrieved January 1, 2024.
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  4. ^ Robbins, Kevin (January 24, 2012). "Horns thrower Crouser brings family history with him". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved January 1, 2024.
  5. ^ a b Krider, Dave (May 10, 2010). "New generation continues Crouser family throwing tradition". MaxPreps.com. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Pfeifer, Jack (June 17, 2009). "Ryan Crouser, First Oregon Prep Discus Over 200 feet at Mac Wilkins All-Comers Meet in Portland, Or". MileSplit. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
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  49. ^ Ryan Crouser at World Athletics
  50. ^ World Athletics. "Rankings in outdoor shot put for senior men". worldathletics.org. Retrieved January 2, 2024.
Records Preceded by Randy Barnes Men's Shot Put Indoor World Record Holder January 24, 2021 – present Incumbent Preceded by Randy Barnes Men's Shot Put World Record Holder June 18, 2021 – present Incumbent Awards Preceded bySam Crouser Track & Field News High School Boys Athlete of the Year 2011 Succeeded byTyreek Hill