Portland native Ryan Crouser was already one of the top shot putters in the world entering the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and only confirmed his standing once more during the event.
He set the Olympic record at 22.83 meters, breaking the record he set in Rio with 22.52 meters.
During pre-Olympic media availability, Crouser let it known he only competes against himself. On his quest for gold, he did just that, breaking his Olympic record twice more, with his last throw coming in at 23.30 meters.
Setting records has become normal for him, as he also holds the world record, which he set during the Olympic trials just a few months prior at 23.37 meters.
Crouser’s dominance would’ve made his 86-year-old grandfather, Larry, proud. Just before Ryan flew to Tokyo, his grandfather passed, which placed an emotional burden on Ryan. Dealing with losing someone he deeply cares about and also dealing with his job to win gold.
“He had a lot of health issues towards the end, but the one thing [is] you'd never [see] him in a bad mood. He was always happy, and he was always so supportive,” Ryan said with a cowboy hat on his head.
Just after winning gold, Ryan celebrated with a letter saying, “Grandpa, WE DID IT, 2020 Olympic Champion!” which was sharpied on computer paper.
“I wrote that down, and I felt like as soon as I did, I breathed a huge sigh of relief,’ Ryan said.
The letter has more significance since the older Crouser lost his hearing and letters were how the two communicated.
Paying tribute to someone so special to him while also celebrating another crowning achievement was an opportunity for Ryan to reflect on what his grandfather would say.
"He always told me to stop and enjoy the moment," Crouser said. "He knows for me, I'm always super goal-oriented and looking long term. His thing that he always told me was to stop and smell the roses."