Four star performers from the Tokyo Olympic Games have had their record-breaking marks from earlier in the season ratified.
At the US Trials in late June, Ryan Crouser fulfilled his lifelong goal of breaking the outdoor world record in the shot put. The 28-year-old unleashed an almighty 23.37m effort to add 25 centimetres to the previous world record of 23.12m set by USA’s Randy Barnes in Westwood on 20 May 1990.
“I’ve wanted that world record for so long, it feels like a weight has been lifted,” said Crouser, who earlier this year set a world indoor record of 22.82m. “I’ve been thinking about this moment since I started throwing. To finally do it is pretty special.”
Crouser went on to successfully defend his Olympic title in Tokyo, smashing his own Olympic record with 23.30m, the second-best mark in history.
Teenage sprinter Erriyon Knighton was another athlete who made the headlines at the US Trials. Before heading to Eugene, the 17-year-old had set a world U18 best of 20.11 for 200m, but that was just a taste of what was to come.
He improved that to 20.04 in the heats of the US Trials, then clocked a world U20 record of 19.88 (1.1m/s) in the semifinals, breaking the mark of 19.93 set by Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt in Hamilton on 11 April 2004.
In the final one day later, Knighton went faster still, running 19.84 (0.3m/s) for another world U20 record (pending ratification) and booking his spot on USA’s Olympic team.
Knighton went on to finish a highly creditable fourth at the Olympic Games, once again breaking the 20-second barrier.
The action at the US Trials concluded with a scintillating 400m hurdles race in which Sydney McLaughlin broke the world record.
Pushed all the way by world champion Dalilah Muhammad, McLaughlin pulled ahead in the closing stages to win in 51.90, breaking Muhammad’s world record of 52.16, set at the World Championships in Doha on 4 October 2019.
“A lot of the things you can’t see coming, but this is the result of trusting the process,” said McLaughlin. “Working with my new coach (Bobby Kersee) and my new support system is truly just faith and trusting the process. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
McLaughlin and Muhammad went on to have another enthralling duel at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in which both women finished inside McLaughlin’s mark from the US Trials. McLaughlin took gold in a world record of 51.46 (pending ratification) and Muhammad finished a close second in 51.58.
Finland’s Silja Kosonen has in recent years emerged as one of Europe’s most promising young throwers.
The 18-year-old hammer thrower opened her 2021 campaign by setting a senior national record of 72.44m, which also broke the long-standing European U20 record set 20 years ago by the late 2000 Olympic champion Kamila Skolimowska.
In late June Kosonen improved to 73.43m, breaking Zhang Wenxiu’s world U20 record of 73.24m, set in Changsha on 24 June 2005.
Kosonen, who won the European U20 title in July, competed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and threw a solid 70.49m to finish 14th in qualifying, putting her in the top half of the field and ahead of several established senior performers.
She will now turn her attention to the World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 21, which begins on 17 August.