Canada’s Camryn Rogers spun four times in the circle, then unleashed a hammer throw that soared straight into the history books.
The 23-year-old from Richmond, B.C., threw 75.52 metres to win silver at the world track and field championships on Sunday, not only Canada’s first world medal in women’s hammer, but the country’s first women’s podium finish in a field event—period.
But climbing the medal podium in her world debut didn’t come as a huge surprise. It’s been that kind of season for Rogers. It started when she finished fifth in her Olympic debut last summer.
“My coach (Mo Saatara) and I have had a plan coming into this championship for, well, basically since we finished at Tokyo last year … dreaming of the podium and having that image in our mind every single time that I throw, every single time in the gym, every moment of every day,” said Rogers, who was the youngest thrower in the women’s Olympic final.
“For it to happen and for us to be in this moment, with this medal, it’s such an incredible feeling.”
American Brooke Andersen won the gold with a toss of 78.96 on her final throw. Janee Kassanavoid of the U.S. threw 74.86 to claim bronze.
Jillian Weir of Kingston, Ont., was fifth with a throw of 72.41.
Rogers’ medal comes amid a breakout season for the Canadian, who shattered her own national and U.S. collegiate records with a throw of 77.67 at the NCAA championships at the same Hayward Field stadium last month. She’s won three NCAA titles for Cal-Berkley.
On Sunday, she draped herself in a huge Canadian flag afterward, and waved to the crowd—delighted that there was a crowd there at all. No fans were permitted at the Olympics, including her mom Shari, who famously doesn’t watch when Camryn throws. She nervously clutches a necklace her daughter gave her years ago, and turns her head away.
“Oh, my gosh, it’s been incredible. For (my mom) to be in the crowd and to hug her, after everything,” she said. “Doing our victory lap, medal around my neck and holding the Canadian flag, it’s just an incredible moment. I almost can’t even put into words—it’s just this overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness.”
Shari Rogers raised Camryn alone since her daughter was three years old. Camryn calls her mom her best friend. No surprise, it was Shari who suggested Camryn try out for track and field. Shari’s a hairdresser, and had a client who was part of the Richmond Kajaks track club.
“It was so random and so sudden. January 5th, 2012. I always remember it,” Rogers said at last month’s Canadian track and field championships. “Fifteen minutes before the start of the first practice of the new year. I just decided I should go. There was no way of knowing until you did it.”
Rogers is part of a strong group of Canadian women throwers who are on the rise. Sarah Mitton of Brooklyn, N.S., was fourth in the women’s shot put the previous evening, the best-ever finish by a Canadian woman at the worlds.
“Every time that I put on the singlet, and have ‘Canada’ across my chest, I could not be more proud to be representing my country,” Rogers said. “And out there in the field, in the circle, those are the moments that you dream about, and to hit these marks to get it done, to execute the plan on the day and to bring home this medal for Canada, it’s such an honour.”
Rogers will throw at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and then call it a season.
Her celebratory plans for Sunday night? Relaxing with her mom and enjoying some ice cream.
Not long after Rogers’ medal performance, Canada’s Moh Ahmed finished sixth in the men’s 10,000 metres.
The 31-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., ran 27 minutes 30.27 seconds.
The top seven runners ran practically shoulder-to-shoulder over a frenzied final lap, with Ugandan world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei pulling away to win gold in 27:27.43. Stanley Waithaka of Kenya was second (27:27.90) and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda finished third (27:27.90).
Ahmed will also race the 5,000 in Eugene, the event in which he captured silver at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.