Whiting finally gets a 'shot' at Olympic gold

Jeneba Tarmoh (bottom) and Allyson Felix finish at exactly the same time in the women's 100 meter final on Saturday. The USATF is still determining how to break the tie.
Jeneba Tarmoh (bottom) and Allyson Felix finish at exactly the same time in the women's 100 meter final on Saturday. The USATF is still determining how to break the tie. (USATF / Getty Images)

The reigning indoor world champion qualified second in the shot put and will be at the London Games.

Posted: June 26, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. - He's already the world indoor shot-put champion.

His 72-foot, 23/4-inch toss during the world championships last March in Istanbul remains the globe's longest this Olympic year.

Now, Ryan Whiting gets his chance to go for Olympic gold.

The 6-foot-3, 295-pound graduate of Central Dauphin High and Arizona State is poised to make a major impact at the London Olympic Games after placing second to Olympic trials champion Reese Hoffa on Sunday's third full day of action at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

Whiting unloaded a bomb of 71-03/4 to take the early lead, only to see Hoffa, the Georgia graduate who now is a three-time Olympian and the 2007 world champion, seize the lead with a 72-21/4 heave moments later.

Those two performances held up through three more rounds of action. Joining Hoffa and Whiting on the London-bound team will be Missouri graduate Christian Cantwell after a 69-93/4 effort.

"I was sixth here at the 2008 Olympic trials, so that was kind of a good learning experience for me," Whiting, 25, said. "I stayed home and got to watch these guys in China.

"Now, to be one of them, I can't really tell you how exciting this is. To be an Olympian, that's a very special thing. I'm in very good company."

Cantwell was America's most successful thrower at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, taking the silver medal after finishing second to Poland's Tomasz Majewski.

Penn State's Joe Kovacs, a Bethlehem Catholic grad who is the Big Ten champion, placed fourth in the 12-man final with a career-best heave of 69-2.

"I must be the smallest guy here," said the 6-0, 275-pound Kovacs. "Everything clicked, and I got my PR at my biggest meet - can't ask for more than that."

Dead-heat dilemma. Bobby Kersee is in favor of a runoff to break a 100-meter tie between his two sprinters, Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh.

Just not now.

Maybe on the last day of the trials, or a few weeks later, on a track to be determined.

To decide anything right now, the coach said, isn't fair to Felix and Tarmoh, especially because they are both running the 200 later this week.

Felix and Tarmoh finished in a dead heat for the last spot in the 100 on the U.S. team going to the London Games, each leaning across the finish line in 11.068 seconds on Saturday.

With no protocol in place, there's no guessing how USA Track and Field plans to break the tie. The organization still is determining a procedure to settle the situation.

"I've heard a bunch of stories about what they might do, and I'm not sure what's true or not," Kersee told the Associated Press on Sunday.

The one that scares him, though, is having a runoff before the 200 starts its rounds Thursday.

"Just leave them alone until after they run the 200 meters, and then come up with a decision [on] how they're going to settle this," he said. "This is a situation to be dealt with later, after you give the athletes an opportunity to focus on what they need to do, what they've been waiting around to do for four years."

The 200 finals are Saturday, and the trials conclude the next day.

Tough competition in 400. Penn State sophomore Brady Gehret was the 400's biggest surprise, a lad among veterans in the eight-man 400-meter final. Running against pros, including the last two Olympic champions, the Altoona native wound up eighth in 45.48 seconds.

The race went to reigning Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt in 44.12.

"I was probably in the lead halfway though," said Gehret, who ran in Lane 8. "I just couldn't maintain. But just getting to the final was a big-time accomplishment."

Gay is back. After he flew down the track, not a trace of a limp in his step, this much was clear in the men's 100-meter final on Sunday night: The old Tyson Gay was back. He finished second to 2004 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin, who crossed the line in 9.80 seconds. Gay was only 0.06 seconds behind, and he will be going to London.

Long jump decided. Marquise Goodwin won the long jump with a personal-best of 27-4 on his final attempt, putting him on the Olympic team.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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