We’re counting down the 25 best former Texas athletes still competing in their sport. Each day we’ll reveal a new athlete.
No. 19 Ryan Crouser
Crouser arrived at Texas from the state of Oregon as the Longhorns pulled off an upset in track and field recruiting for the 2009 World Youth Gold Medalist in 2011. Crouser’s family wanted him to attend track and field power Oregon, where his father Mitch and uncles Brian and Dean had competed and launched Olympic careers in the discus, javelin and shot put. But Ryan had other ideas. He picked Texas and right from the start was one of the nation’s best in the shot put. He placed in the top five in the shot put in both indoor and outdoor track as a freshman, then battled an illness that forced him to miss the 2013 indoor season. He came back strong in the outdoor season and won his first of four shot put national championships. He left Texas as a nine-time first team All-American, the 2014 Men’s National Field Event Athlete of the Year and an eight-time Big 12 shot put champion.
Pro career: After graduating from Texas and earning a master’s degree in finance in 2016, Crouser set his sights on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He set personal bests in the shot put at the 2016 Olympic Trials with a 21.85 meter throw . But it was his second throw that wowed the trials as he beat World Champion Joe Kovacs’ throw with a shot put of 22.11 meters to win the competition. At the Olympics Crouser’s summer got better. He continued to set personal bests and with a throw of 22.65 meters he not only set a personal best but threw the seventh longest shot put in history, and the longest throw in the world since 2003. Obviously, Crouser, just 23, won his first gold medal.
Why he’s here: He’s 25 and already at the top of his sport with an Olympic gold medal. How many Olympics will he compete in? How many gold medals can he win? He’s here because very few — not even the top two players on this list — can claim to the best best individual at their sport. Ryan Crouser can.
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