Carol Finsrud W35 discus record beaten at last (or yet again)?

Gia threw at 2013 Moscow IAAF worlds, taking fifth.

Hall of Famer Carol Finsrud, now 57, has set American records in the discus in every age group she’s been in since 1992, when she was 36. She holds ARs in W35, W40, W45, W50 and W55. Quite a run. But Sunday at the USA nationals in Sacramento, 35-year-old Gia Lewis–Smallwood won a national title by flinging the platter 65.96 meters (216-5). Carol’s listed W35 record? Just 54.52 (178-10). In fact, Gia threw 65.77 (215-9) two weeks ago in Oslo, which also should be a W35 American record. Yet here we go again: At least three other American discus throwers over 35 have better marks than Carol’s. Check out the all-time rankings on In 1999, Connie Price Smith threw 58.32 (191-4). In April 2012, Aretha Thurmond threw 63.44 (208-2), and in May 2012, Suzy Powell-Roos threw 60.77 (199-4). (IAAF lists a 60.98 by Suzy in June 2012.) So how did all these marks fall through the cracks? And why do we keep putting up with this nonsense?

More on Gia:

“It’s an amazing feeling,” she told USATF after Sunday’s victory. “I’m super excited to come out and be able to throw well. It gives me a lot of confidence to be able to go overseas and do the same. I started off a little bit rocky. I hadn’t competed in a couple of weeks and when that happens, sometimes my first few throws are kind of rocky. But I found my rhythm and pulled it together.

“I love this stadium. I remember 2004 and the Olympic Trials hold a lot of great memories. I didn’t make the team, but I PR’ed and that did great things for my career. So Sacramento holds a lot of magic. It’s a wonderful place and I’m so glad we’re back.”

From USATF’s biography of Gia:

Persistence paid off for Lewis-Smallwood, who in 2011 made her first international team after competing in the discus on the national level for 11 years. One year later she made her first Olympic team. Even though Lewis-Smallwood finished 6th at the U.S. Trials, she had the Olympic A standard necessary for a spot on Team USA’s roster. She surpassed the A standard of 62 meters earlier in 2012 at the Wailuku Challenge. One year later, in 2013, Lewis-Smallwood broke through and claimed her first USA Outdoor Championship with a throw of 65.13m/213-8. The 2010 season was a breakthrough year for her, as she improved her PR by more than two meters, and won her first silver medal at the U.S. championships. Lewis works part-time at the YWCA and with the Parkland Community College volleyball team.

She’s far short of the listed W35 world record of 69.60 (228-4) by Russian Olympic champ Faina Melnyk. But Gia isn’t focusing on masters records just yet.

I hope Gia gets credit for a W35 American record, though. But I’m worried that her amazing performance will get the same shit-can treatment as Connie, Aretha and Suzy’s.

In any case, Bernard Lagat, 39, won another 5K title (his seventh) in 13:31.41. And Reese Hoffa, at 36, took third in the shot, going 20.78 (68-2¼). Any other geezer medalists at Sacramento I’ve missed?

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June 30, 2014

One Response

  1. Randy Wilson - July 2, 2014

    Great throw!! 2nd time I’ve seen her throw in person. Fastest arm I’ve ever seen. 3 throws over 210, 4 over 200 out of six.

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