The American got the gold with the final throw of the competition in Portland
The women’s shot put at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland was an epic contest.
New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, who has dominated the event for so long, underwent surgery in 2014 and is yet to fully regain her form. She had taken an early lead but eventually had to settle for third – her first loss at a major championships since 2010 – as Michelle Carter impressed on home soil.
With throws of 18.90m, 19.28m and 19.31m, the American took and then regained the lead.
The event followed the new protocol with all 11 competitors having three throws, then the top eight getting two more and finally the top four getting a sixth throw – with the order of the last three throws being last to first.
With her final throw, Anita Marton of Hungary found the big one – a 19.33m national indoor record – to snatch the lead from Carter.
Carter wasn’t done, though, and with the last throw of the contest the American grabbed the gold with a world-leading and North American record 20.21m.
The 30-year-old had previously won bronze medals at the World Indoors in 2012, Beijing World Championships in 2015 and the Pan Am Games in 2011, but this was her first major gold.
“I know to focus on what I’ve been working on, and let the competition handle itself,” she said. “I’ve been working hard, and it showed up today, so I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
On needing a big final throw, she added: “I’ve been in a lot of situations where that’s happened and a lot of situations where I just didn’t have it that day. Today it was there and it showed up, and I’m glad it did.”
Carter’s father, Michael, won silver in the shot put at the 1984 Olympics, giving them an unusual, if not unique, situation of being a father and daughter to have competed in the Olympic shot put.
After winning her 2012 indoor medal, Carter told me: “That was good because I usually throw horrible indoors. But as the years go by I get used to my body and the training cycle and I get better and better.”
After her performance in Portland, it certainly looks as if she has worked out how to compete indoors.
» Catch up on all of day three’s afternoon action in Portland with our round-up report here