TOKYO - Payton Otterdahl finished tenth in the Olympic shot put final on Thursday at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
Otterdahl, of Rosemount, unleashed a throw of 20.32 meters (66 feet, 8 inches) on his first attempt, then faulted on his second and third attempts.
American teammates Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs earned the gold and silver. Crouser set an Olympic record with his first throw of 22.93 (75 feet, 3 inches), then bettered it, then bettered it again, his last throw 23.30 (76 feet, 5 inches) only .07 meters off his world record.
Otterdahl sounded disappointed but promised to position himself for the next Olympics, in Paris in 2024.
"I'm not happy with my performance, but I am ecstatic to be here competing at the highest level," Otterdahl said. "Those two [Crouser and Kovacs] are just amazing role models to have. I get to look up to the best and the second best in the world. And I want to be at their level someday, so it gives me motivation to keep working hard."
The shot put final began at 11:05 a.m. in Japan, in blistering heat and high humidity. The athletes were given two shaded benches on which to sit, but more often wandered toward the stands and spotty shade between throws.
It was like watching a bunch of offensive linemen who couldn't find the huddle.
Coaches sat in the stands nearest the shot put circle. Otherwise, the stands were empty other than with journalists and dignitaries.
What did Otterdahl think of the atmosphere?
"It was hot!" he said. "You know, coming from North Dakota, I'm definitely not used to this type of heat and humidity. So it was very hard for me, but I mean, for shot put, the atmosphere was electric. Everybody was throwing really well. It was fun to see."
Otterdahl, who competed for North Dakota State and now coaches at the school, said the heat left everyone with sweaty hands, no matter how much chalk they used.
Before Otterdahl spoke in the interview mixed zone beneath the stadium, American hurdler Grant Holloway stopped to speak and called Crouser, "A dog, man."
Otterdahl was more specific. "He just keeps doing what he was already good at, better," Otterdahl said. "He's just technically so good and he's gotten so much bigger and stronger. He became more comfortable in the ring. The sky's the limit with that guy."
Only twice before had a shot putter set the Olympic record three times during the final — the USA's Parry O'Brien in 1956 and East Germany's Ulf Timmerman in 1988.
Otterdahl plans to continue competing. He is 25. The Paris Olympics are three years away.
"The ultimate goal right now is to make that Paris team," he said.