By Jessi Gabriel / TrackTown USA
DeAnna Price knew coming into IAAF World Championships Doha 2019 that she had a good shot at the podium in the women’s hammer throw.
But knowing that and executing on it are two different things. Crazy things happen at championship meets and the form-charts don’t always pan out. So even though Price came into the event with the year’s world-leading mark (78.24m – the American record, set at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships), nothing was guaranteed.
“It’s never a sure thing,” said Price. “You just have to go in and give yourself the best chance you can.”
During Friday’s preliminary round, she launched just one throw (73.77m), hitting the automatic qualifying standard in her first attempt and securing her spot in the final.
The 26-year-old, who was a decorated student-athlete and multi-time national champion at Southern Illinois University, entered the final as the favorite.
She left as a champion.
Her first attempt in Saturday’s final proved enough to earn her the title – she threw 76.87m. The only competitor able to better that mark was Price herself, who managed to improve to 77.54m in the third round.
When her victory was confirmed, Price celebrated with her fellow medalists, overcome with emotion.
“At that moment, knowing that the season was done, and coming away as World Champion, it was thankful tears for the support I get from so many people,” said Price. “Like I say whenever I compete, whenever I throw: it’s never me, it’s we.”
Her gold medal is the first global medal of any kind for the U.S. in the women’s hammer throw. The United States is in the midst of a renaissance in the women’s hammer, with Price, Gwen Berry, and up-and-comer Brooke Anderson leading the charge. All three women are ranked in the top 10 of this year’s IAAF World Rankings and sit in the top three on the 2019 performance lists.
When asked what advice she might have for high school or collegiate throwers contemplating a future in the hammer throw, Price was encouraging.
“Keep going, keep driving” said Price. “You’re meant to shine, to be bright, to be beautiful, to be bold… I look forward to the next female to break my record, because I guarantee it’s going to happen.”
There is no doubt that her performance in Doha makes Price a medal contender for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Fans at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials will be able to watch the qualifying and final rounds of the hammer throw during a free session at Hayward Field on Wednesday, June 24, and will be able to cheer Price on as she begins her journey to Olympic gold.