Ryan Crouser Shares Heartfelt Tribute to His Grandpa After Winning Gold

Ryan Crouser paid an emotional tribute to his late grandfather after becoming the first U.S. male to win a gold medal in a track and field event at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 28-year-old Portland, Oregon, native came into the Games as the red-hot favorite to retain his Olympic title in the men's shot put event and did not disappoint.

Crouser put on a dominant display that saw him break the Olympic record not once, not twice but three times to become the first American since Parry O'Brien in the 1950s to claim back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the shot put.

In the immediate aftermath of his achievement, Crouser sought to shine a light on the influence of his grandfather, Larry Crouser, 86, who died just a day before the 28-year-old headed out to Tokyo for the Games.

The two-time Olympic shot put champion credits his grandfather with introducing him to the sport from a young age, with practice sessions held in his backyard up until he reached the eighth grade.

As Crouser posed for pictures among the assembled trackside press, he held up a piece of paper that said: "Grandpa, we did it, 2020 Olympic Champion."

Crouser's grandfather was deaf in his later years and the pair used to regularly write notes to one another in order to communicate.

"That was for my grandpa," Crouser told USA Today.

"He's been my biggest fan...He's had a huge role in my throwing career. To lose him a week before the Olympics was obviously sad, but I feel like he was able to be here in spirit."

The last note Crouser shared with his grandfather before he passed came during the U.S. Olympic trials, when he broke the world record which had previously stood for 31 years.

While he repeated that feat in Tokyo, the American still found a way to make history by breaking the Olympic record—one previously set by himself—three times across three epic consecutive attempts.

The first saw Crouser toss his throw 74 feet and 11 inches to break the record of 73 feet, 10¾ inches set at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Not content with that, his second throw came in at a staggering 75 feet, 2¾ inches to all but confirm another gold medal.

However, there was still time for him to put the icing on top with a throw of 76 feet , 5½ inches, the second longest in the history of the shot put event.

Fellow American Joe Kovacs collected silver with a best throw of 74 feet, 3¾ inches with New Zealand's Thomas Walsh capturing the bronze medal thanks to a throw of 73 feet, 8¾ inches.

Newsweek has reached out to Crouser's representatives for further comment.

US shot-put star Ryan Crouser.
Ryan Crouser celebrates winning gold in the Men's Shot Put Final with a message for his late grandfather. Getty