Former Track And Field Standout Joe Kovacs Takes Silver In Rio
2011 Penn State graduate and track and field standout Joe Kovacs added to Penn State’s medal count at the Rio Olympics with his impressive performance on the big stage.
Kovacs, who won gold at the IAAF World Championships in August 2015, took silver in the men’s shot put competition with a throw of 21.78 meters. Fellow American Ryan Crouser narrowly edged Kovacs out by less than a meter to take gold, breaking a long-standing Olympic record in the process. His throw of 22.52 broke East German shot put legend Ulf Timmermann’s mark of 22.47 that was set in 1988. Fellow Penn State graduate Darrell Hill competed alongside Kovacs in the competition, but did not qualify for the final round.
Kovacs enjoyed a wildly successful 2015-16 season that saw him finish the year as the No. 1 shot putter in the world, but such great prosperity comes with lofty expectations. Though he medaled for his country, the ever-competitive Kovacs expressed a sense of disappointment in failing to earn gold — a feeling that quickly dissipated as he remembered the significance of being able to compete in the Olympic games, let alone have a spot on the medal stand.
“You’re never happy to get second,” Kovacs said in a post-competition interview. “It’s that bittersweet feeling. But it’s setting in. I’m still bringing home a silver medal to the U.S. and the gold’s coming with Ryan. Ryan had some great throws today, and I have to congratulate him on that because he put it together.”
The former All-American became the third Penn Stater to medal in Rio. Though it wasn’t the medal of his choice, Kovacs can add his first Olympic medal to his expanding trophy case.