With the Olympic Games set to kick off at the end of July, preparations for the Games are beginning in all sports, not just in swimming. In this series, SwimSwam looks at some of the leading news from outside of swimming as athletes around the world continue to prepare and qualify for the rescheduled Olympic Games which are due to begin in Tokyo on July 23rd, and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to begin August 24th.
USA’s Ryan Crouser Breaks 31-year-old Shot Put World Record
American Ryan Crouser broke a 31-year-old shot put record over the weekend and secured his ticket to Tokyo in the process.
The 28-year-old threw the shot put 76 feet, 8 1/4 inches (23.37 meters) on day one of the U.S Olympic Trials, breaking the previous World Record mark of 75-10 1/4 (23.12) which was set by Randy Barnes in May, 1990.
While athletics records do tend to survive longer than swimming records, this shot put record was one of the older and more legendary records on the books for the IAAF.
Crouser is the defending Olympic champion from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he won gold in the shot put event with a throw of 22.52 m (73 ft 10+1⁄2 inch) which broke the Olympic record.
Earlier this year, Crouser broke another longstanding record belonging to Randy Barnes. His first throw of 2021 saw him achieving a mark of 22.82 m (74 ft 10+1⁄2 in) to set a new World Indoor Record. The previous record stood at 22.66 m (74 ft 4 in) and was set by Barnes in 1989.
Speaking on how he achieved his world record, Crouser said: “I stayed big with my chest and relaxed and let the entry happen. I didn’t force it. And once I did that well, I knew the throw was going to be good, so I didn’t do anything to mess it up from there.”
Laurel Hubbard Makes History, First Transgender Olympian
New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard made history this week as she was confirmed at the first-ever transgender athlete to be selected to compete at an Olympic Games.
The 43-year-old weightlifter was named on the women’s weightlifting team by the New Zealand Olympic Committee following recent adjustments to qualifying requirements.
In a statement released by the NZOC on Monday this week, Hubbard said of her selection:
“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders”
“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement, and your ‘aroha’ [affection] carried me through the darkness.”
Hubbard’s inclusion in the Games has been met with some criticism as certain individuals have claimed that she will have an unfair advantage over her competitors.
However, members of the nation’s government, as well as the Olympic committee, have stated their support for Laurel, with the New Zealand sports minister, Grant Robertson, saying: “She deserves to be there and we’ll be supporting her”.
Additionally, one of her competitors for the upcoming Games, Australia’s Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, has also voiced her support. “I have so much respect for her and wish her and the other lifters the best and hope we can all come together and enjoy the Olympics,” she said.
“Because this Olympics right now is quite different compared to others. I’ve competed with her previously and always had good chats with her, I just wish her well,” she added.
Hubbard will be competing in the women’s 87kg-plus category in Tokyo.
First Positive Covid Test Among Olympic Teams in Tokyo
A member of the Ugandan Olympic team has tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in the Japanese capital ahead of the upcoming Games.
The unnamed team member was part of a nine-person cohort from Uganda which includes boxers, coaches, and officials.
The individual has reportedly been fully vaccinated before travelling to Tokyo and has tested negative before leaving Uganda.
Japanese officials have told local media that the individual has been transported to a designated government quarantine facility and the rest of the team have left the airport via chartered bus and are headed for Osaka.
The Ugandan team was the second foreign team to arrive in Japan following the arrival of the Australian women’s softball team on June 1st.
Of note, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this week that they will allow 50% venue capacity for domestic spectators at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. The decision to ban international spectators has not been altered.