Like most athletes, discus thrower Valarie Allman knew this was a year she’d just have to take whatever she could get.
She got an American record.
“I think now it’s almost more meaningful,” Allman said, “that out of such a period that was really challenging something so great came from it.”
On the very day she had hoped to be throwing in the qualifying round of the women’s discus at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Allman competed Saturday in Rathdrum, Idaho – population about 9,000 – at the Iron Wood Throws Center Invite.
While the setting was more diamond in the rough than Diamond League, it fit the bill for Allman to produce a throw of 70.15 meters/230 feet, 2 inches, the longest in the women’s event since 2018.
Only two active throwers have better marks: two-time Olympic gold medalist Sandra Perkovic of Croatia (71.41 in 2017) and Denia Caballero of Cuba (70.65 in 2015). Yaime Perez of Cuba won the 2019 worlds with a throw of 69.17.
Allman is striving to become the first Team USA Olympic medalist in discus since Stephanie Brown Trafton won the gold in 2008.
“This is a huge game-changer just for her viewing herself in terms of where she belongs,” said Allman’s coach, Zebulon Sion. “It’s very clear that she’s at a totally different level now.”
Only about 20 spectators, maybe 30, were on hand for the feat, including Allman’s mom, Lisa, and her puppy, Oly, a mini Australian shepherd.
“I’ve never felt so thankful just to be able to compete at any point in my career,” said Allman, who won the last two national titles and was seventh at the 2019 world championships in Doha. “Just the fact we were going to get to go and throw – that in itself was a huge win – let alone how well it went. I finally had an opportunity to see how our work was going to materialize.”
By Karen Rosen – TeamUSA.org