Armstrong unable to reach podium in London
We still love you, Dylan.
That was the sentiment at Commodore Grand Café and Lounge and gathering places across the River City on Friday, Aug. 3, when shot putter Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops fell short of his goal at the Olympic Summer Games in London.
The Westsyde secondary graduate’s best throw in the shot-put final — which he barely qualified for — was 20.93 metres on the second of six attempts, good enough for fifth place.
Poland’s Tomasz Majewski repeated as Olympic champion, throwing 21.89 metres, edging David Storl of Germany by three centimetres.
Reese Hoffa of the U.S. won bronze with a 21.23-metre toss.
KTW attended the Commodore viewing party.
Each of Armstrong’s throws was preceded with a buildup of tension and excitement at the downtown restaurant, which reached capacity by noon, one hour after it opened, 30 minutes before the final started.
Anti-climactic groans following each throw — except his best of the day, which was met with considerable hooting and hollering — were quickly drowned out with applause, as if to say “we still believe.”
The bottom line is Armstrong did not have his best stuff, as has been the case leading up to the Games.
A fifth-place finish was not what he had in mind.
The hulking shot putter finished one centimetre off the podium in Beijing in 2008 and said only a top-three finish in London would suffice.
After the event was over on Friday, Armstrong told reporters he has not made a decision on the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
He will be 35 when they roll around.
Armstrong’s family members had the best seats in the house at the Commodore and — when they weren’t being hounded by media — they gave their full support to the 6-foot-4, 300-plus pound athlete.
Messages of encouragement were not hard to find on social networking sites on the weekend.
Gord Bradshaw tweeted Armstrong: “So proud of your performance. Thanks for your efforts.”
Thea Katherine Dunn posted on Facebook: “Good job . . . you did Kamloops proud.”
A seemingly good-spirited Armstrong talked about his day after competition ended.
“I guess I’m happy with fifth, but it would have been nice to get on the podium,” Armstrong said.
“It’s just a strong field, super-strong. It’s how it is. You can be in the best shape of your life, but if you don’t snap one off your finger correctly, they can go a metre less. Every attempt, you think ‘I’ve got one in me.’ But it’s just how the chips fall.”
Rodhe fouls out
Canadian Justin Rodhe, who trains with Armstrong at the National Throws Centre (NTC) in Kamloops, fouled on all three of his attempts in the men’s shot-put qualifying round on Friday and did not make the final.
American Kibwe Johnson, who also trains in the River City, qualified for the men’s hammer-throw final with a 77.17-metre throw on Friday.
He did not have a great performance in the final on Sunday, Aug. 5.
Johnson could only muster a 74.95-metre toss, good enough for ninth place.
Krisztian Pars of Hungary won the event with an 80.59-metre throw.