Who really won the Shot?
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Tom Walsh of New Zealand was crowned the champion of the men’s shot put competition at the World Championships in London. But who threw the farthest?
Four Americans were in the final, including reigning World Champion Joe Kovacs and 2016 Olympic Champion Ryan Crouser.
Walsh took an early lead in the second round with a throw of 21.64m (71 feet) and didn’t let up the entire competition. He later put the final nail in the coffin by throwing 22.03m (72 feet 3 inches) on his last throw.
But what happened to the top Americans?
Kovacs had a massive throw in the sixth and final round that would have won the competition. Take a look at the video for yourself.
The official raises the red flag with no confirmation or gestures from the other three officials, clearly he saw something that I cannot. Can you?
How about from this angle?
Kovacs protested the throw and asked them to measure the throw. It will be marked as a foul on paper until the call on the field is overturned, but from reports on the field the throw was 22.08 meters, enough to win the competition.
To the naked eye I cannot see any reason why an official would call this a foul.
Upon further review in super slow motion we notice Kovacs left toe strikes the toe board.
But striking the toe board in the shot put is NOT illegal. The shot put ring has a 2cm deep lip all the way around and a 10cm tall toe board; the inside of which is all fair game to touch. The top however is not.
Anything past a 45 degree angle is considered a foul. But did Kovacs break the 45 degree plane? In full speed it’s impossible to call. Certainly not someone should call at a major championship where a gold medal is on the line and potentially money bonuses.
How about slow motion?
This is no 4k, super HD video, but it’s still hard to see.
One theory is that Joe Kovacs intentionally toe fouled so that his new sponsor VELAASA would get plenty of prime-time television coverage. I mean look at those shoes!
Coverage on Eurosport and BBC only peppered the stream lightly with the field events, while heavily covering the running events. Good luck seeing any coverage live in America. One throw you won’t get to see unless you were in the stadium was Ryan Crouser’s third round throw.
Most spectators watched the live results change every couple of minutes on IAAF’s website because of the lack of coverage. On paper Crouser seemed to be having the worst day of his life.
Four 21 meter throws may seem like the series of a lifetime for many competitors, but I am sure for Crouser it was disappointing to not showcase his true potential to the fans.
But in the third round Crouser popped a big one that he was clearly excited about. Soon after exiting the ring a late red flag was raised. He too had foot fouled. Can you see it?
I couldn’t see it, what about here?
In full speed it’s impossible to see a foot foul. Yet one official witnessing the epic achievement live in person (in full speed) saw something no one else can.
A foot foul out of the back of the ring from his left heel.
The throw was protested but came back inconclusive to prove otherwise. Another way of saying they could not prove a foul, nor disprove a foul, therefore the call of the field stands.
The throw was marked in case the protest overruled the call on the field. What was the mark? 22.31 meters. Enough to take gold by almost a foot!
Take a look at the throw in slow motion from up close… Can you see it?
Here is where it gets good. Video footage was later reviewed from every angle, in high definition, in slow motion (much like an NFL official review) and of the four officials present at the ring, only one claims it was a foul; and after reviewing the footage she’s sticking with her call.
What I want to know is why this competition was being so closely scrutinized?
Check out video footage of the qualifying round… Notice how laid back the officials are.
Now check finals.
The officials are clearly told to watch foot fouls like a hawk, and seems like they were told to shoot first and ask questions later.
When did the competition go from being about the performance of the athlete, to the amazing eye sight of an official?
Now if the throws are fouls, then they are fouls, but if they aren’t, then officials just hindered the progress of at least two professional athletes. It’s their livelihood, it’s the way they are able to put food on the table.
But let’s not take anything away from Tom Walsh! The guy did his job! He’s is an amazing athlete, a great sportsman, and a good guy. He’s been throwing terrific the last few years and I am so proud of him. Make sure to give him a follow on Instagram and congratulate him on an amazing performance.
2017 World Champion Tom Walsh Instagram
Share, like, and comment if you think these throws were a foul! Love to hear what you see.