What makes Ryan Krauser – the world beating giant of shot put – so good?

Ryan Kreuzer launched the longest shot put throw in history last Saturday.

The double Olympic champion rewrote his own world record with a new mark of 23.38m at the Simplot Games in Idaho. The throw in the indoor meet also beat her previous world record of 23.37m, set outdoors at the 2021 US Olympic Trials in Oregon, as well as 22.82 achieved in Arkansas earlier this year. Also beat the indoor world record of m.

Last week’s record throw comes a year after Krauser canceled the same distance throw. He believed he had broken his own record by a centimeter at the Melrose Games last January but a faulty laser measuring device meant the competition was cancelled.

Despite his dominance — the reigning world champion holds eight of the 12 best marks in shot put history — Kreuzer didn’t expect the record.

Big surprise

Body type: Krauser is hard to miss at a track meet — and not just because he often wears a wide-brimmed cowboy hat.  He is 6'7

Body type: Krauser is hard to miss at a track meet — and not just because he often wears a wide-brimmed cowboy hat. He is 6’7″ tall and weighs 145 kg, but he carries this mass with great grace. Photo credit: Getty Images

“The biggest surprise of my career so far,” he wrote on social media. “23.38m wasn’t expected today…Training this week was a bit disappointing, just struggling with feeling flat and feeling a bit under the weather. Decided to take Thursday and Friday off. I Hadn’t rested two days in a row before today’s meet, but I figured it was better than overtraining. All I can say is try to stay positive if things are bad and you might surprise yourself. !

Krauser’s success, however, comes as no surprise — as both nature and nurture contributed to his early immersion in the sport. He was brought up in a family that was involved in athletics, especially throwing events. Her father Mitch was an alternate on the discus team at the 1984 Los Angeles Games while her uncle Brian was a two-time Olympian in the javelin and cousin Sam represented the United States in the javelin at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

It was in Grandpa Larry’s backyard that young Ryan attempted the first toss with the heavy metal ball that would shape his life. His childhood throws were unpredictable – once, he lobbed a shot over the top of a garden shed and the next day he had to go back and replace the roof.

Cruiser went the discus route almost like his father. He competed in both competitions for a while, but grew frustrated with how the elements affected the distance the discs traveled. Shot put had no such problem. “No matter how fast, it won’t move a 16-pound sphere,” he said. “I like the consistency and repeatability of the numbers around the shot and not having to worry about, ‘Oh, am I going to get wind or not’.”

Cruiser is athletically gifted. He’s hard to miss at a track meet—and not just because he often wears a wide-brimmed cowboy hat. He measures in at 6’7″ and 145 kg, but carries that mass with grace. He’s explosively quick: his coaches say his runs out of the three-point stance compare to American football. He ran track in school and was also an avid basketball player.

This all-around athleticism and exposure to other sports served him well in the shot put, a point he made in the ‘Advice to My Younger Self’ series on the World Athletics website.

“You’re right not to master too quickly,” Krauser wrote to his younger self. “Track and field creates a lot of repetitive motions while playing basketball is more reactive and teaches a wider range of motion. This will be very helpful when you eventually become a thrower. You’ll gain skills because you’ll have a better understanding of what your body can and can’t do.”

A student of sports

Pushing Boundaries: Krauser has already taken the shot to places it has never been before.  There's no telling where that will take him next.  Getty Images

Pushing Boundaries: Krauser has already taken the shot to places it has never been before. There’s no telling where that will take him next. Getty Images

In addition to his physical gifts, the cruiser also has a sharp, curious mind. A standout student, with an interest in math and science, the 30-year-old holds a master’s degree in finance. His fierce competitive spirit and do-it-yourself mentality combine to create out-of-the-box solutions.

For example, he built a training ring at his home in Arkansas during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure he never missed a day of practice. Her homemade ring was made from two sheets of plywood and screws purchased from Home Depot. If he threw with too much force, the plywood tended to slip. So that made him really focus on his footwork.

Shot putters dress themselves up as part-time physics gurus, spending hours analyzing their throws from multiple angles, hoping to extract a few centimeters. Krauser has taken it a step further, serving as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Arkansas.

The job requires him to know the nuances of his craft so he can better explain the process, which in turn benefits him. Some of his shot put pupils were left-handed and to teach them better, Crozier worked on attempts as a southpaw. He could reach about 15.5 meters from the left side. Equally satisfying was the knowledge he acquired in reverse engineering procedures.

Indeed, the amount of time Kreuzer has spent understanding his craft is reflected in the analogy he uses to explain the difficulty of his work. He asks people to imagine grabbing a 7.3 kg bowling ball, walking out onto an open basketball court and trying to get it from the free throw line all the way to the basket at the other end!

“We’re strong and we’re moving well and we’re generating a ton of power,” Crozier said. “It’s hard enough to make a three-quarter court shot, just throw a basketball that far — now throw a bowling ball that far. It puts it in perspective.”

To maintain his strength, Cruiser has a grueling training program. He also eats – a lot. His 5,000-calorie daily diet includes two packed breakfasts, filled with bacon or sausage, in the morning with a pound of lean beef with rice, slathered in barbecue sauce, for lunch and Then three out of four servings. Overnight food delivery service. And when he sets a new world record, he goes out for a “big, old double-double hamburger somewhere.”

Given Krauser’s record-breaking streak, the natural question is: How far can he go? He is experimenting with a new technique, in keeping with his experimental, playful approach to continuous improvement. This involves him shifting his starting point to the right and adding an extra step to the spin, designed to generate more rotational power.

If the technique should bed properly over the next few months, it will, he predicts, offer a higher top. Krauser has already taken the shot to places it has never been. There’s no telling where that will take him next.

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