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If there was such a thing as a shot put video game, you could say that Ryan Crouser is putting up video game numbers in 2020.
The 27-year-old won his ninth competition in nine tries in 2020 on Monday in Zagreb, but that’s like saying I’ve won nine straight games of 1-on-1 against my four-year-old. The victories themselves are much less important than the manner in which the victories are achieved. And as in the case of me against my son, that manner has been historical dominance.
After Monday’s win in Zagreb, where Crouser tossed five more shots over 22.00m, including his monster 22.74m, the 2016 Olympic champion has now gone over the 22 meter mark 32 times in 2020. The rest of the world during that time? Zero.
Now, a skeptic could point out that Crouser’s top rivals, guys like Joe Kovacs and Tom Walsh, have barely competed in 2020, along with several other top throwers. A year ago, seven men besides Crouser crossed 22 meters, so it’s not like he’s typically this far ahead of the field.
But consider two stats to understand that Crouser’s 2020 season hasn’t been artificially inflated by a lack of competition:
1) After Zagreb, Crouser has now thrown over 22.00m 99 times in his career, a whopping 60 (!!) more than the next closest man. In one season alone, he's thrown over 22 meters more than just one other shot putter has in a lifetime.
Lifetime 22 meter shot put throws...— FloTrack (@FloTrack) September 14, 2020
99 Ryan Crouser (USA)
39 Ulf Timmermann (GER)
31 Tomas Walsh (NZL)
21 Werner Günthör (SUI)
20 Christian Cantwell (USA)
19 Randy Barnes (USA)
16 Joseph Kovacs (USA)
2) Adding in his performance on Monday, the American now owns nine of the top 20 shot put marks of all time, including four in the top 14 this season alone. Read another way, that’s the equivalent of a 1500m athlete running 3:27.65 or faster four times in one year. (Not even Hicham El Guerrouj, who owns 10 of the top 20 1500m times ever, did that.)
So, the cowboy hat-wearing American isn’t just having the best season ever by a shot putter, he’s having one of the best seasons in track and field history, period.