Americans hurl in Rio shot put finals

Crouser gets gold, Kovacs takes silver

(Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

American Ryan Crouser won gold in the shot put at the Rio Olympics on Thursday night.

Crouser's throw of 22.52 meters was an Olympic record.

Joe Kovacs of the United States won silver and Tomas Walsh of New Zealand won bronze.

Kovacs, who was coached by his mother growing up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is competing in his first Olympics but is the reigning world shot put champion. The 27-year-old two-time national champion competed collegiately at Penn State, where he won three Big Ten titles in shot put.

Crouser bettered the qualifying standard of 67 feet, 9 inches, with one record-setting throw in Thursday morning's qualifying round. His throw of 70 feet, 10 inches, is the best qualifying mark in Olympic history and led all qualifiers.

A 23-year-old Oregon native, Crouser was a two-time NCAA champion at Texas and is competing in his first Olympics.

Fellow American and rookie Olympian Darrell Hill failed to advance from the qualifying round.