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Local Olympic Spotlight: Joe Kovacs Set to Battle for Shot Put Gold With Teammate

Joe Kovacs (Getty Images)

Joe Kovacs (Getty Images)


Bethlehem, PA native Joe Kovacs is looking to bring home gold in the shot put, and prove that he is still the best in the world in Rio.

After just narrowly missing the London Olympics during his first season as professional with a fourth place finish in the Trials, Kovacs has worked to get himself to the top of the shot putting world. He worked his way up, and broke out big time in the 2015 season, where he became the world champion in Beijing, as well as winning the Diamond League. Those titles, paired along with his two consecutive national titles made him one of the biggest names in the sport going into 2016.

The 27-year old thrower is easily the favorite going into the Olympics. He has thrown the furthest out of anyone in the world this year, and he is the reigning world champion. On top of that, his personal best is the eighth best distance of all-time. However, if there is going to be one person that can block him from getting a gold medal, it will be fellow countryman Ryan Crouser, the same thrower who beat Kovacs in the Trials.

As successful as Kovacs has been, Crouser has been right behind him, nipping at his heels. While Kovacs has the world’s best distance this season at 22.13, Crouser trails with a 22.11. The next closest competitor? A 21.76 from Nigeria’s David Mozia, another competitor who could find the podium, but shouldn’t compete with the big two. Expect the Olympic shot put final to really whittle down to these two competitors for gold.

After failing to qualify for the London Olympics, Kovacs packed up and moved to California in order to train under coach Art Venegas, the same year he turned pro. He attended Bethlehem Catholic High School during his time in Pennsylvania. After graduating, he attended Penn State University, where he majored in earth and mineral science. In order to train and be more flexible, he takes up gymnastics.



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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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