The countdown is over: the Olympic Trials start today. Earlier in the week we provided you our comprehensive guide to the men’s throws at the Olympic Trials. Today we take in depth look at the women’s throwing events. Let su know who you think will win in the comments below or on social media (@hmmrmedia on Twitter or Facebook).
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Women’s Shot Put
Favorites: Tia Brooks and Michelle Carter
Defending Nataional Champion: Michelle Carter
Other Contenders: Raven Saunders, Jill Camarena-Williams, Felisha Johnson and several others
Qualification: Thursday, July 7, 11:00am PST
Final: Thursday, July 7, 6:15pm PST
As is the case on the men’s side, America’s strongest event is the shot put. This has not always been the case, but a surge in talent has put four women in the world’s top eight, and 10 women inside the world’s top 30 in the event. The biggest name in the event right now is Michelle Carter, who collected bronze at the last summer’s world championships. But she has been quite quiet after winning the world indoor title in March, throwing just twice with unremarkable distances and leaving questions about her current form. In the meantime Tia Brooks has stepped into the spotlight, having won the Drake Relays over Carter and then taking first at both the Doha and Birmingham Diamond League competitions. She has improved her best by more than two feet this year and is now ranked second in the world. It will be tough for even a full strength Carter to beat Brooks.
Young Raven Saunders blasted a two foot outdoor personal best to win the NCAA Championships a few weeks ago. But that’s also what she did last year before placing just eight at the US Championships. But her consistency is at another level compared to her competitors. Saunders has been over 18.50 meters five times during the outdoor season. Only Brooks has hit that mark more times. Felisha Johnson lead a handful of other throwers over 18.50, but has only reached the mark three times. Jeneva Stevens has also shown good form, but will be competing in the hammer throw the day before the shot put. If fans are looking for an experienced athlete to root for, former World Championship medalist Jill Camarena-Williams is your woman. While she has not had her same form since returning from maternity leave last season, she has slowly been throwing farther and that experience could help her squeeze on to the team.
|2016 US Shot Put Top 10|
|19.73||64-8¾||Tia Brooks (Nike)||Birmingham DL|
|19.33||63-5||Raven Saunders (Ole Miss)||NCAA|
|19.26||63-2¼||Felisha Johnson (Nike)||Chicagoland|
|18.99||62-3¾||Jill Camarena-Williams (Nike)||Tucson Elite II|
|18.72||61-5||Michelle Carter (Nike)|
|18.72||61-5||Jeneva Stevens (NYAC)||Chula Vista HP III|
|18.56||60-10¾||Kelsey Card (Wisconsin)||Wisconsin Twi|
|18.41||Brittany Smith (Nike)||Kingston|
|18.18||59-7¾||Dani Bunch (Nike)||Baie Mahault|
|17.99||59-0¼||Chase Ealey (Ok State)||NCAA|
Women’s Discus Throw
Favorites: Whitney Ashley
Defending National Champion: Gia Lewis-Smallwood
Other Contenders: Kelsey Card, Liz Podominick, and Stephanie Brown-Trafton.
Qualification: Friday, July 1, 4:00pm PST
Final: Saturday, July 2, 10:45am PST
The women’s discus is perhaps the most wide open event throwing event at this year’s Trials. There are not only many potential winners, but likely a dozen names who could make the team in this tightly packed field. If anyone is considered a favorite it is likely Whitney Ashley. A runner-up at least year’s NCAA Championships, Ashley is the top qualifier and has yet to lose to an American this year. In addition she has produced solid non-wind results on the Diamond League circuit as well.
But one good throw is all it will take and many other throwers have proven themselves ready. Kelsey Card launched a new personal best in the same ring at the NCAA Championships and is the second best qualifier and has been solid throughout the season. Liz Podominick has been as steady as well and made the World Championship squad last year. Last year’s champion Gia Lewis-Smallwood seems to be out of the picture this year. Having beat Sandra Perkovic in 2014, it looked as though America finally had a potential medalist in the women’s discus. But at 37 Lewis-Smallwood has struggled with injuries and is not even in the top ten qualifiers this year. Another veteran though, 2008 Olympic champion Stephanie Brown Trafton, is back in form, and has the third best qualifying mark in the field as she looks to make her fourth Olympic team.
|2016 US Discus Top 10|
|64.62||212-0||Whitney Ashley (Nike)||Chula Vista|
|63.52||208-5||Kelsey Card (Wisconsin)||NCAA|
|63.09||207-0||Stephanie Brown-Trafton (Nike)||Young Classic|
|61.97||203-3||Hannah Carson (Texas Tech)||Masked Rider|
|61.67||202-4||Liz Podominick (Chula Vista Elite)||Triton Inv|
|61.42||201-6||Valarie Allman (Stanford)||NCAA|
|61.16||200-8||Paige Blackburn (USAF)||Power Conf Challenge|
|61.10||200-5||Tera Novy (USC)||Los Angeles|
|60.76||199-4||Anna Jelmini (Altis)||Claremont FOD II|
|60.73||199-3||Shelbi Vaughan (Texas A&M)||Johnson Classic|
Women’s Hammer Throw
Favorites: Amber Campbell and Gwen Berry
Defending National Champion: Amber Campbell
Other Contenders: Amanda Bingson, DeAnna Price and Jeneva Stevens
Qualification: Wednesday, July 6, 1:00pm PST
Final: Wednesday, July 6, 3:00pm PST
The women’s hammer has had some spectacular results this year, but what has drawn more media attention is what has happened outside the ring. Gwen Berry started off the year at a new level. In six competitions she was averaging nearly 74 meters and launched an American record of 76.31 meters at the end of May in Tucson. She didn’t test positive, but she had admitted on an anti-doping form that she had taken an asthma inhaler that was banned. You can read more about the story here, but the end was result was three month ban and, more importantly, the loss of her American record.
Luckily for Berry, her ban has just expired and she will be eligible to compete at the Trials. Who knows how the media attention has affected her and she has struggled at past championships (never placing higher than 5th at the US Championships), but her form this year makes her one of the favorites even if she is rusty. Her biggest competition will come from defending champion and two-time Olympian Amber Campbell. Campbell tied her personal best this year, is ranked seventh in the world, and has been consistent against solid competition.
Three other names will be fighting for a spot on the Olympic team: Amanda Bingson, DeAnna Price, and Jeneva Stevens. Bingson is the most experienced of the three with two national titles and the American record. However while she placed ninth at the World Championships last year, her form has not been at the same level as in 2013 and 2014. Price is coming off her second straight NCAA Championship and was a runner-up at nationals last year to make her first international team. She has been even more consistent this year. Stevens is also a former World Championship finalist and always capable of a big throw. it will undoubtedly be an exciting competition and the only down side is that not all the big names can make the Olympic team.
|2016 US Hammer Top 10|
|73.61||241-6||Amber Campbell (Nike)||Mt. SAC|
|72.66||238-5||DeAnna Price (So Illinois)||Edwardsville|
|71.90||235-11||Amanda Bingson (Nike)||Clermont|
|71.10||233-3||Jeneva Stevens (NYAC)||Chula Vista HP II|
|70.50||231-3||Maggie Ewen (Arizona State)||NCAA West|
|69.62||228-5||Britney Henry (Oiselle)||Chula Vista HP III|
|69.33||227-5||Heavin Warner (Central Missouri)||NCAA II|
|68.33||224-2||Aubrey Baxter (Unattached)||Sioux City|
|68.02||223-2||Brooke Pleger (Unattached)||Columbus|
|67.48||221-5||AJessica Ramysey (Unattached)||Mt. SAC|
Women’s Javelin Throw
Favorite: Kara Winger and Maggie Malone
Defending National Champion: Kara Winger
Other Contenders: Brittany Borman and Hannah Carson
Qualification: Thursday, July 7, 3:30pm PST
Final: Saturday, July 9, 4:00pm PST
Many fans were asking questions about Kara Winger, who had yet to throw this year until last week. But her season’s debut of 61.72 meters showed she is in shape to win her seventh national title. It will not be easy though. Maggie Malone enters the meet as the top qualifier. She has been consistent around 60 meters all year and then threw several personal bests at the NCAA Championships. Brittany Borman has fallen off slightly since a strong start to the season, but still consistently around 60 meters. Hannah Carson is also coming off of a big personal best at the NCAA Championships.
Only three women have reached the Olympic qualifying standard in this event: Winger, Malone, and Borman. That means that, unless someone else breaks 62 meters in the competition, those three women will be on the Olympic team no matter their their finishing position. Their spots are far from guaranteed though. Hayward field has produced some good javelin results, and a close competition might push someone else over the barrier.
|2016 US Javelin Top 10|
|62.19||204-0||Maggie Malone (Texas A&M)||NCAA|
|61.72||202-6||Kara Winger (Asics)||Ironwood Throws Classic|
|61.27||201-0||Brittany Borman (Nike)||Florida State Relays|
|61.20||200-9||Hannah Carson (Texas Tech)||NCAA|
|59.68||195-9||Ariana Ince (Unattached)||Tucson Elite II|
|58.81||192-11||Avione Allgood (Oklahoma)||Big 12|
|57.06||187-2||Audrey Malone (Texas A&M)||NCAA|
|56.91||186-8||Jessie Merckle (Wake Forest)||High Point|
|56.60||185-8||Kim Hamilton (Nike)||LSU Invite|
|56.03||183-10||Allison Updike (Azusa)||NCAA II|