American shot put ace Ryan Crouser predicts world record assault before 2020
American shot put ace Ryan Crouser believes it's only a matter of time before he, fellow American Joe Kovacs or Kiwi Tom Walsh breaks the 23m mark.
Crouser, who won gold ahead of Kovacs and Walsh at the Rio Olympics with a 22.52m effort, has just finished a two-year masters degree in finance and is now fully committed to a world record assault.
American Randy Barnes' 26-year-old world record of 23.12m hasn't been seriously threatened, but Crouser is picking it will be before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
He, Kovacs and Walsh have built a healthy rivalry in recent years, with the trio pushing each other well past the 22m mark.
"I think it will happen before 2020," he told the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"We are such a young group and with four more years at least one of us should be over 23m.
"In fact, I think it is possible there could be multiple athletes over 23m. There is still a little way to go but with three guys pushing each other, that's when we could see those performances over 23m. And 23.12m."
Crouser has recently relocated from Texas to the US Olympic training centre in Chula Vista, near San Diego, where he will continue to be coached by his father.
With study behind him, and just 23-years-old, the 2.01m tall American sounded an ominous warning to his rivals.
"I am still one of the lighter throwers and if I put on a bit more muscle mass, I think that will be a big help," he said.
"As I mature, my strength will improve and I also hope to work on my flexibility."
Crouser's personal-best outdoor throw of 22.52m is 4cm short of Kovacs' 22.56m, while Christchurch-based Walsh, who hails from Timaru, has a best throw of 22.21m to his name.
Fellow Kiwi Jacko Gill, who has managed a best outdoor throw of 20.83m, is another young rising star in the sport, and has set his sights on a big year ahead, including a win against rival Walsh.
Gill will get his first crack at the South Cantabrian at the Big Shot in Christchurch on February 19, the same event he won a year ago.
Walsh missed the event with injury but, along with Crouser, American Ryan Whiting and Aussie Damien Birkenhead, is expected to contest the title on home soil next month.