Michelle Carter keeps it in the family
When California-born Michelle Carter stepped on the blue track of Grosseto and waved at the local crowd during the presentation of the women’s Shot Put final, she knew she would be the woman to beat.
Coming into today’s final, Carter held the best mark of the twelve finalists her 17.26m personal best also being the third best put in the world this year.
And the 18-year old sophomore at the University of Texas had another reason for being confident as winning blood evidently runs in her veins. The oldest of three children, Michelle Carter is the eldest daughter of 1984 Olympic silver medallist Michael Carter whose best put was an impressive 21.76m.
After taking the lead with her opening effort of 16.78m Carter proved she has what it takes to be a champion as she managed to remain concentrated and save her best for last. And indeed she needed it!
Indeed, Irina Tarasova of Russia who was in second position threw a massive 17.13 with her last effort, the penultimate throw of the competition, and very loudly celebrated her new personal best and temporary gold medal winning effort.
However the Russian joy didn’t last long as throwing immediately after Carter put together the best throw of her life and saw the shot land at an impressive 17.55m.
“I saw the Russian girl’s last attempt and to be honest I kind of expected it. I knew she would throw something big. It gave me that extra little energy to put together a new personal record.”
Talking from the athlete’s mixed zone a few minutes after becoming the IAAF World Junior Shot Put champion here in Grosseto, Carter explained:
“When I stepped in the circle for my last attempt I just felt more focus, more serious. I felt straight away that it was a better put technically especially the strength on my second leg.”
“At first I thought I had fouled that release to be honest! I was relieved when I saw the white flag.”
USA Junior and Pan-American Junior champion in 2003, Carter was also a silver medallist at the 2001 IAAF World Youth Championships in Debrecen. A good discus thrower as well, Carter decided to concentrate all her efforts on the Shot Put not only because she says she’s a much stronger shot putter but also because she wants to leave room for other members of the Carter family.
“My younger sister D’Andre is 17 and she’s a very good discus thrower so I am going to leave that to her!” she said jokingly. “My younger brother is also a shot putter,” she added almost apologizing.
Carter was understandably very proud of the first World title of a career she sees in track and field. But most certainly back in the States there was a former Olympian whose happiness and pride was even more intense!
“I have just spoken to my parents back home and they are very excited for me. They were expecting for me to call and let them know how it went.”
And it definetely went very well for Michelle today!