Kibwe Johnson and Amber Campbell win hammer
June 21, 2012
BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) – Kibwe Johnson’s grandparents have someone special to cheer for in London.
Johnson won the hammer at the Olympic trials with a throw of 245 feet, 11 inches Thursday to earn a trip to the London Games.
“My grandparents have been to every Olympics since 1976, I think,” he said. “And now they get to see me there.”
A.G. Kruger, who finished third with a throw of 242-6, also will represent the United States.
Second-place Chris Cralle, who threw 243-11, doesn’t have the Olympic “A” standard of 255-11 needed to qualify for the games. Both Johnson and Kruger had already met the mark.
On the women’s side, Amber Campbell, Amanda Bingson and Jessica Cosby earned spots on the U.S. Olympic team.
Johnson, who last year became the first American to break the 80-meter barrier since 2000, celebrated after his final throw by laying down on an image of the Olympic rings at the center of the hammer field.
The event was held at Nike’s headquarters, about 110 miles north of where the rest of the Olympic trials will start Friday at Eugene’s Hayward Field.
Johnson, who has competed in the hammer at two world championships, will be competing in his first Olympics.
“I’ve been a starving hammer thrower for so long,” Johnson said. “It’s good to make it.”
Kruger said he’s keeping his sights on London, his third Olympics.
“Today I could feel myself. I was a little bit all over,” he said. “Thinking too much, I think.”
Campbell had a meet-record throw of 235- 6 in the women’s event earlier in the day. Bingson was just shy of that mark, while third-place finisher Cosby threw 232-2.
Campbell, who also competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, jumped up and down in the circle and squealed for joy after her long throw. At 71.80 meters, it barely bested Bingson’s throw of 71.78 meters.
“I knew as soon as I let it go and I hit it that it was going to be a good one,” Campbell said.
Cosby, who also competed in Beijing, was disappointed with her finish Thursday but happy to be among the top three for a spot on the Olympic team.
“When you look at the big picture, I needed to finish in the top three, and I did,” she said. “So I’m moving on.”
Bingson, who just wrapped up her senior year at UNLV and was coming off a third-place finish in the NCAA championships, was the biggest surprise. She did not have the “A” standard of 234-7 required to make the team coming into the event.
Besides Campbell and Cosby, the only other competitor who came into the event with the “A” was Gwen Berry, who finished seventh.
Just 22, Bingson was elated.
“I have nothing else to compare it to,” she said, grasping a bouquet of flowers.
Keelin Godsey, who was vying to become the first transgender to make the U.S. team, finished fifth at 231-3. Godsey was born a woman but identifies as a man.
“That was my lifetime best,” Godsey said. “And I can’t ask for anything more than my best.”
Despite not making the team, 28-year-old Godsey was honored to be among the athletes in the event.
“I’ve still done more than many people who are trans have,” Godsey said. “I’ve competed at the highest level. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Local favorite Britney Henry, who starred at Oregon, finished ninth at 224-7.
For the men, U.S. Army Major Michael Mai did not make it to the final round, finishing a disappointing 10th.
The event was held at a specially constructed hammer cage in the shadow of the Tiger Woods building at Nike. Turnout for the event was estimated at about 3,000 under sunny conditions and temperatures in the lower 80s.