USA's Brooke Andersen contests the hammer at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)
Brooke Andersen already had the gold medal in hand, so she didn’t need a big final throw on Sunday (17) in the women’s hammer at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.
Andersen delivered one anyway.
The US champion unleashed a monster throw of 78.96m, just six centimetres shy of her PB – the world-leading 79.02m from April.
Andersen, 26, bowed, grinned and then held back tears. She won the second straight title in the event for the US, who had never even made the world hammer podium before Andersen’s compatriot DeAnna Price claimed the gold in 2019.
“My emotions are all over the place,” Andersen said. “At the end of the day it’s still competition, so I want to throw my best.”
The whole podium was composed entirely of North Americans, an unprecedented occasion in a throwing event, men’s or women’s, at the World Championships. Camryn Rogers, the NCAA champion, took second with 75.52m to win Canada’s first World Championships medal in the hammer. Janee’ Kassanavoid captured the bronze (74.86m), giving the US two medallists for the first time.
Andersen, who placed 10th in her first Olympic Games in Tokyo last summer, arrived in Eugene as the favourite, especially with two of her toughest rivals forced to sit out the competition. Price was recovering from a tough bout with Covid-19 and four-time world champion Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland recently sustained a muscle injury while going after a thief who broke into her car.
Andersen quickly took the lead on her first attempt at 74.81m. She fouled on her second and was overtaken by Kassanavoid on her first legal throw (74.86m).
Rogers, who finished fifth in Tokyo, took command in the third round with 75.52m, but Andersen was just getting warmed up. She regained the upper hand in the fourth round with a heave of 77.42m and improved to 77.56m in the fifth.
Kassanavoid, her bronze medal assured, threw 74.75m on her final attempt, while Rogers summoned up a toss of 74.36m to remain in silver-medal position.
Then it was Andersen’s turn to put an exclamation point on the competition.
“That’s a throw I don’t think I’ll ever forget,” she said of her 78.96m heave, “just having all that energy.”
She said the crowd at Hayward Field started clapping in anticipation. “Usually I don’t throw on a clap,” Andersen said. “I just couldn’t shut it down because it felt right, my last throw and home stadium.”
Andersen has a long history at Hayward Field. In 2014, she competed at the World U20 Championships in Eugene, placing 21st with 54.64m. In June, she won her first national title on this same field.
Andersen has lost only once this year, and that was to Kassanavoid.
“I knew that coming into this competition all these ladies are amazing throwers,” Andersen said. “I knew I was going to have to bring my ‘A’ game. Unfortunately, the first three throws didn’t go as well.”
But her final three hit the spot.
Kassanavoid, 27, who has a season’s best of 78.00m and was the national indoor weight throw champion, said it was exciting to “have this huge performance on this huge scale in front of the United States on native soil.”
The 23-year-old Rogers said she watched many of her competitors for years. “To be throwing with them is an incredible feeling,” she said.
Italy’s Sara Fantini, who had briefly moved into second place early in the competition, settled for fourth with 73.18m, while Canada’s Jillian Weir gave her country two athletes in the top five, finishing with 72.41m. Bianca Florentina Ghelber of Romania, the oldest finalist at age 32, placed ahead of Finland’s Silja Kosonen, the youngest at age 19. Ghelber threw 72.25m for sixth place, equalling her Tokyo Olympic placement, while Kosonen’s best toss was 70.81m.
Kassanavoid said she’s known her fellow medallists her whole career. “We’ve all come so far,” she said. “My goal is to inspire and empower the next generation of athletes and if that’s female hammer throwers – to be a leader, to be a role model – that’s all I can do. Hopefully, everyone has self-confidence and loves their strong bodies and can come out here and win medals.”
Karen Rosen for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S HAMMER MEDALLISTS
|Brooke Andersen 🇺🇸 USA
|Camryn Rogers 🇨🇦 CAN
|Janee' Kassanavoid 🇺🇸 USA