DAY 3 OLYMPIC TRIALS BLOG
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
EUGENE, OREGON - High above Cayuga's waters, they've obviously got one heck of a webmaster.
Literally moments after Rudy Gabe Winkler, Cornell University '17, had whirled around the ring at Hammer Stadium - the event-specific venue for the ball-and-wire competition created on the north fringe of Hayward Field - and sent his implement on a shocking ride of of 82.71 meters, or 271 feet, 4 inches - to obliterate all previous records for (a) all of the Western Hemisphere, (b) the United States of America; (c) the USA Olympic Trials, the news had been recognized. cheered and properly e-denoted all the way across the nation in Ithaca, N.Y.
Cornell, founded by Ezra Cornell back in 1864, of course, occupies Ithaca's idyllic Finger-Laked Ivy League campus located on the south end of Ol' Cayuga.
A quick glimpse of its distinguished alumni list reveals the names of such notable achievers as Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Christopher Reeve, Bill Maher, Gabe Giffords, Adolph Coors III, Harry Edwards, Adolphe Menjou, Ed Marinaro....and on and on...
And maneuver that same website a few more clicks and you'll hit on a hugely impressive list of Cornell Olympians.
And there some very quick surfing will get you to the names of such as John Anderson (discus 1932), Edward Cook (pole vault 1908), Frank Foss (pole vault 1920), Charley Moore (400 hurdles 1952) and Alma Richards (high jump 1912), individual gold medalists all. Oh, and Meredith Gourdine (1952) and
Bo Roberson (1960), who settled for long jump silvers by mere centimeters.
OK, none recently, but that now seems ready for adjustment.
Of course/of course, Rudy Winkler had already qualified for the Cornell alumni Olympians roster by his cameo appearance at the
2016 Rio de Janeiro Games - where he was unable to get past the qualifying round.
But the 2021 Rudy is surely destined for a much bigger role at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the past five years, he's made some incredible advances. He earned a Masters degree from Rutgers (where he was able to compete for the Scarlet Knights as a grad transfer.) He's a more robust Rudy now, 26 years old, six-foot-two, 238 pounds. And with those Clark Kentish-spectacles, he's some fans' version of Superman.
He's especially super to Coach Paddy McGrath, the former Irish Olympic hammer-tosser who guides the throwers at Manhattan College, when he's not additionally coaching Winkler.
Rudy has been his pupil for years, ever since his days at Averill Park (N.Y.) High School (in the Albany vicinity) where his precocity and quick learning skills soon set him apart.
But the new Rudy is a class all his own.
"It's kind of amazing," said McGrath, after the 82.71 bomb demolished the previous American record, the 82.52/ 270-9 mark achieved by Lance Deal at Milan on Aug. 7, 1996.
"I'm kind of in shock right now, " said McGrath. "He beat Lance Deal's record. I never thought that I'd coach a guy at that level.
"He showed great poise, great concentration."
(Roman Feldman has also been a member of Winkler's coaching team.)
Rudy Winkler/Clark Kent/Superman had one sensational day in the Eugene ring.
His record-walloping series went this way: 80.75/ 264-11; 82.71/ 271-4, 80.98/265-8, 82.10/269-4, 79,51/ 261-2, 80.28/263-5, No other thrower beat 80 meters.
No American has won the Olympic hammer throw since Boston College graduate Harold Connolly did it in 1956. Oregon's own Deal came close, with a silver medal at the Los Angeles Games of 1996.
Poland's Pawel Fajdek (at 82.98 / 272-3) marginally tops the 2021 year list and will be a formidable foe in Tokyo. The world record still stands at 86.74 / 284-7, by Russia's Yuriy Sedykh at Stuttgart on Aug. 30, 1986.
Given Winkler's rate of progress, nothing seems beyond his potential.
And high above Cayuga's waters, Mr. Website Master knows he'd better be ready to make a few major adjustments.
Cheers again at the Trials for the 10-member Shore AC delegation !!!
Let's hear it for SAC teammate Amina Smiith, who came through with a season-best performance to tie for seventh place in the women's high jump
The former University of Maryland star, and current Terp assistant coached, cleared her "SB" (season best) of 1.87 meters, or 6 feet, 1 3/4 inches
to snare the co-seven spot with Air Force team's Shelly Spires. Celebrated teammate Amina cleared her first two bars of 1.77 and 1.82 on first attempt and then went over at 1.87 on third jump. But she was unable to clear the fourth bar of 1.90 / 6-2 3/4.
HJ winner was Las Vegas resident Vashti Cunningham (daughter of NFL QB great Randall Cunningham) with a clearance of 1.96 / 6-5. Since Cunningham is the lone US HJer to have topped the Olympic standard, she may be the sole USA entry in the event in Tokyo.