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Allman Wins Gold

Aug 2, 2021

TOKYO – One throw was enough for Valarie Allman '17 to win an Olympic gold medal in the women's discus on Tuesday. 

In her first Olympic Games, Allman, 26, opened with a throw of 226-3 (68.98 meters) and the distance stood through six rounds and a rainstorm to give the American-record holder the victory. 

Allman is the third Stanford woman to win gold, following Katerina Stefanidi '12 of Greece in the pole vault in 2016 and Chryste Gaines '92 in the 4x100 for the U.S. in 1996. In all, nine former Stanford students are Olympic champions, dating from Morris Kirksey on the U.S. men's 4x100 in 1920.

Stefanidi happened to be on the track at the same time, qualifying for Thursday's final. And so was Elise Cranny '18, Allman's Stanford roommate who placed 13th in the women's 5,000 final. 

But this was Allman's night. Moments after Cuba's Yaime Perez unleashed a formidable 215-7 (65.17m) in the first round, Allman answered with her eventual winner. 


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Rain began to fall at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium and Allman slipped on her second throw and the disc wobbled into the net. After two other throwers fell, the competition was halted as it began to pour. The interruption may have harkened to bad memories for Allman who was leading the 2018 NCAA competition when it was interrupted only to drop to third after it resumed. 

After about an hour, the competition resumed and throwers were able to take their second-round throws over again, but it didn't matter. Germany's Kristin Pudenz got to 219-4 (66.86m) in the fifth round, followed by Allman's second-best throw, of 219-1 (66.78m).

In the sixth and final round, no one was able to mount a threat and Allman became the first American woman to win gold in the discus since Stephanie Brown Trafton in 2008.

Allman is a three-time U.S. champion, who twice has represented the U.S. at the World Championships. Allman, a product design major, was a six-time All-American at Stanford, a two-time Pac-12 champion, and Pac-12 Woman of the Year. 

As she draped the American flag around her shoulders, reality set in. Allman is the Olympic champion. 

Allman wrote three words on her Instagram account: "DREAM. COME. TRUE."


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Stanford's Track and Field Olympic Champions

2020 (Tokyo): Valarie Allman, U.S. (women's discus).
2016 (Rio de Janeiro): Katerina Stefanidi, Greece (women's pole vault).
1996 (Atlanta): Chryste Gaines, U.S. (women's 4x100 relay).
1968 (Mexico City): Bill Toomey*, U.S. (decathlon).
1952 (Helsinki): Bob Mathias, U.S. (men's decathlon).
1948 (London): Bob Mathias, U.S. (men's decathlon).
1932 (Los Angeles): Bill Miller, U.S. (men's pole vault).
1928 (Amsterdam): Bud Spencer, U.S. (men's 4x400 relay).
1928 (Amsterdam): Bob King, U.S. (men's high jump).
1920 (Antwerp): Morris Kirksey, U.S. (men's 4x100 relay).

*Stanford graduate student.