Crouser, Carter share memories of Olympics and Texas Relays

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Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Ryan Crouser refreshed his phone screen of the women’s shot put final results this summer in Rio.

He refreshed it again and again.

He was waiting to see if fellow Longhorn Michelle Carter could pull off the win on the final throw. 

She did.

“To see Michelle win the first one for the U.S., and to do it in that fashion, on her last throw, that just motivated me,” Crouser said. “So that was unbelievable. Watching her just proved to me that once you’re at the Olympics, anything can happen.”

Carter became the first American woman to win the Olympic gold in the shot put with a throw of 20.63 meters (67’ 8.25”). Crouser would go on days later to win gold in the men’s shot put with a throw of 22.52
meters (73’ 10.75”).

Carter and Crouser graduated nine years apart, but both made the same Olympic team, making Texas the only school to ever sweep an Olympic throwing event. 

“It was just meant to be,” Carter said.

While a plethora of Texas Olympians sat at the Texas Track and Field alumni dinner after Friday night’s relays, Crouser and Carter were the ones chosen to speak. 

Dressed in a gray dress with her gray Nike sneakers, Carter’s smile illuminated as she recalled her favorite Texas Relays memory.

“It was my senior year. It actually rained and sleeted, it was horrible,” Carter said. “My coach looked at me and said, ‘You have to compete.’ And I’m like, ‘Really? It’s snowing outside.’”

Carter convinced herself to brave the freezing temperatures and take part of the event. 

“I just sucked it up and went out there, and I won,” Carter said. “That hardly ever happens at Texas Relays, but to win in that condition is great.”

Crouser’s favorite Texas Relays also saw adversity. He was in bed with strep throat, not prepared to compete in his first collegiate discuss competition.

“I came out, and Mario’s like ‘Let’s at least give it a toss, it’s a cool atmosphere, get out there and just do it,’” Crouser said. “So I went out there and threw. I actually threw what ended up tying my PR, almost 200 feet. And that lasted all the way until the end of the year just because I was so relaxed and not trying to kill it.” 

Neither Crouser nor Carter mentioned any plans of retirement. Carter has made three olympic teams, but believes she can make a fourth by qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

“I’m going to go for one more Olympics, and that’ll be my fourth team, hopefully,” Carter said. “And I’m not giving up just yet. I’ve got more to give, and I’m going to keep working at it.”

Crouser also has more plans in store. He is currently training in San Diego at the Olympic training center.

“For anyone coming off an Olympic medal, you kind of look towards the next thing, which is the world record,” Crouser said. “Randy Barnes has it at 23.12 meters. And then long-term, I’m looking at Tokyo 2020, it’s always on the horizon, as well as World Championships this year in London.”

Both Crouser and Carter walked around the stadium Saturday. Carter had a camera slung over her shoulder, for pictures, hugging fellow Olympic team members Natasha Hastings and Phyllis Francis.

Crouser watched from the back tent, wearing jeans and a white t-shirt with a “Team USA” logo on it, watching the next to come. 

“It’s a really good experience being back and seeing everybody,” Crouser said. “Everyone was so supportive during my time here at Texas. And then, after the Olympic medal, I’ve been able to give back a little bit. Everyone is still appreciative and supportive still. I’m really glad I got a chance to come back.”