Home College Track and Field Call Her Clutch: Michelle Carter’s Olympic gold highlights Day 1 Olympic track...

Call Her Clutch: Michelle Carter’s Olympic gold highlights Day 1 Olympic track and field action


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Michelle Carter brought a family tradition full circle – and even one-upped it – with an Olympic gold medal and an American record Monday night in the women’s shot put at Olympic Stadium.

A stunning last round throw of 20.63m/67-8.25 that demolished her own American record and dethroned the two-time defending champion gave Carter (Ovilla, Texas) the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in the women’s shot put.

Voted Olympic Team captain by her teammates earlier this week, Carter posted her third major, last-throw victory in 2016. She also won the World Indoor title in March and the Olympic Trials crown in July on her final attempt.

In Rio, she was in second place with a best of 19.87m/65-2.25 going into the final stanza, facing the task of surpassing the 20.42m/67-0 by New Zealand’s Valerie Adams. Hitting her power position perfectly, Carter drove the shot down the left side of the sector and entered the history books. Adams posted a long toss on her final attempt, but it wasn’t enough.

After her victory, Carter celebrated with her father and coach, Michael Carter, himself the 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the shot put, a Super Bowl champion football player, and still the national high school record holder in the boys’ shot put. On Monday night, the Carters became only the second known father-daughter medalist combo in Olympic track and field history, along with Lennox Miller (Jamaica) and Inger Miller (USA), and are the first father-daughter individual medalists in Olympic track and field history.

NCAA champion Raven Saunders (Charleston, South Carolina) also hit a lifetime best on her final attempt, lofting the iron sphere 19.35m/63-6 to place fifth. Never before at the Games had Team USA placed two women in the top five, and Carter’s gold is only the second U.S. medal in the event. Earlene Brown took the bronze in 1960.

Reports from Team USA qualifying rounds are below.

Americans easily advance in 1500m prelim performances

The top six finishers in each heat automatically advanced to the semifinals, and Team USA’s women all ran strategic race to move on. Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, California) ran a cautious race in the first heat, staying on the inside of lane two much of the way. As the pack surged and slowed, Martinez stayed in contention for one of the six automatic qualifying spots, finishing third in 4:11.74, with the next three placers within .03 seconds.

Content to run on the inside in third place for the first two laps of heat two, 2011 World Champion Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) eased up with 600m to go to put herself in a more favorable position on the outside of the pack. She strided to the finish in fourth in 4:06.99, earning her automatic spot in the semifinal.

American record holder Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco) ran just off the lead through the first 1300m of heat three before stepping on the gas around the curve as Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia surged.  Rowbury finished second 4:06.47 to advance.

Campbell, Price move to HT final

For the first time since 2000, two American women will be in the hammer final. Amber Campbell (Indianapolis) made her only legal throw in Group B count, finishing eighth overall. Her first round toss of 71.09m/233-3 is the longest ever by an American at the Olympics, improving on her own mark from 2012 by almost four feet.

NCAA champion DeAnna Price (Moscow Mills, Missouri) took her throwing to the next level by advancing to her first Olympic final, qualifying as fourth-best out of Group A and ninth overall with a throw of  70.79m/232-3. Gwen Berry (St. Louis, Missouri) did not advance after finishing 14th with her best throw of the evening (69.90m/229-4).

U.S. quarter mile trio advance to Saturday semis

The fastest man in the world over one lap this season, 2008 gold medalist LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Virginia) never saw his competition in heat five. He roared through the first 200m in lane eight and cruised the final bend on the way to a winning 45.28, almost a half-second ahead of second place

In the first of seven heats, Gil Roberts (Oklahoma City) automatically qualified with a second-place finish in 45.27 to grab one of the three automatic qualifying spots for the next round. David Verburg (Lynchburg, Virginia) was fourth in heat six in 45.48 and advanced on time.

Americans heat up in 100m heats

Tori Bowie (Sandhill, Mississippi), Tianna Bartoletta (Elyria, Ohio) and English Gardner (Voorhees, New Jersey) all easily won their respective 100m heats Friday evening, as the trio made Team USA 9-for-9 in track qualifying on the night. Gardner turned in the top time for the U.S. squad, finishing in 11.09. Bowie won the third heat in an easy 11.13, while Bartoletta took the victory in the fifth heat with her time of 11.23.

Henderson, Lawson qualify for Sunday’s long jump final

One and done was the phrase of the day for Trials winner Jeffrey Henderson (North Little Rock, Arkansas) who spanned 8.20m/26-11 on his first attempt in Group A to surpass the automatic qualifying mark by two inches. He will be joined in the final by Jarrion Lawson (Texarkana, Texas), who had a 7.99m/26-2.75 in round one that placed him seventh overall. Michael Hartfield (Manchester, Connecticut) twice jumped 7.66m/25-1.75, finishing 25th overall and missing out on the final.

Nwaba builds momentum toward second day of heptathlon

Barbara Nwaba (Los Angeles) mounted a mini comeback in the second half of the day, utilizing a strong shot put performance (14.81m/48-7.25) to move herself ahead of her U.S. teammates in the overall standings. Kendell Williams (Kennesaw, Georgia) finished the evening not far behind Trials champion Nwaba, finishing fourth in her 200m heat in 24.09 for 972 points and 3,715 points on the day. Heather Miller-Koch (Columbus, Wisconsin) finished Friday 19th overall with 3,630 points.


U.S. athletes after 100H – 4. Williams (1,118); 12. Miller-Koch (1,041); 22. Nwaba (1,005)

U.S. athletes after high jump – 6. Williams (2,134); 12. Nwaba (2,021); 13. Miller-Koch (2,019)

U.S. athletes after shot put – 9. Nwaba (2,869); 18. Williams (2,743); 19. Miller-Koch (2,740)

U.S. athletes after 200m – 11. Nwaba (3,777); 14. Williams (3,715); 19. Miller-Koch (3,630)

Follow along with all of the action from the Rio Olympic Games by following USATF onTwitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #Rio2016. Fans can follow every second of the Rio Olympic Games on the NBC family of networks. All track & field action can be streamed live via the NBC Sports app and the broadcast schedule for tomorrow is as follows:

Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field