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Ian Waltz
Waltz wins discus

Waltz wins discus
Earns second Olympics trip

Inside: Ex-WSU star Bernard Lagat wins 1,500 meters to close U.S. track trials/C3 Associated Press (Associated Press )

July 7, 2008

EUGENE, Ore. – Ian Waltz made his second Olympic team Sunday with feet to spare – and yet couldn't celebrate completely.

The Post Falls High School and Washington State graduate won the men's discus on the final day of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials to earn his trip to Beijing and another chance at the medal that eluded him four years ago in Athens.

The last thrower in the finals field of 12, Waltz took the lead on his first attempt and never relinquished it. In the fourth round, he got the Hayward Field crowd going with a rhythmic clap before stepping into the ring, then launched a throw of 216 feet, 1 inch to settle whatever mystery there was – thrusting his arms skyward in triumph.

Runner-up and defending national champion Michael Robertson was a full seven feet behind, and Casey Malone took third at 205-7 – beating Doug Reynolds for the final U.S. berth by an inch.

"It's amazing going into your final throw knowing you're the Olympic Trials champion," said Waltz, who had three throws longer than any by Robertson. "It's pretty cool."

But there was a bittersweet side to the day. Waltz's training partner for the past six years and Olympic teammate in 2004, Jarred Rome, struggled with the discus slipping out of his hand and failed to make the finals, finishing 11th. And Waltz's fiancé, 2000 Olympic pole vault gold medalist Stacy Dragila, finished in a tie for seventh and didn't make the team.

Waltz has nursed a minor leg injury during his trials preparations and tested it easily during the warmup period.

"I was just trying to groove in some technique," he said. "The competition started and I felt pretty good. After that, I knew my leg was going to be fine. I was able to crank it up a little bit like I normally do.

"I think my timing was still a little off because I haven't thrown hard the last week and a half. I thought I threw well and it feels good to be going to Beijing. It was a great day overall having my friends and family here."