HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Hershey native Valarie Allman won gold in the women’s discus at the Tokyo Olympics. Allman’s finals opening throw was 68.98 meters.
It was the first medal for the U.S. track and field team.
“To be here, to be in this moment, feels so surreal,” Allman said. “I’m still waiting for my feet to touch the ground.”
Her opening throw of 68.98 m (226 feet, 3 inches) could not be beat in almost 50 throws from her competitors.
“Our team is filled with so many incredible athletes, and I am just blown away that I am not only a medalist,” Allman said, “but I am the gold medalist.”
She went to high school in Longmont, Colorado, but says she was raised mostly in Hershey.
The story goes that in high school she was offered a pasta meal to join the track team if she would try discus. The dancer found herself a home inside circle.
“Looking back, gosh darn, that was the best spaghetti dinner of my entire life,” the 26-year-old Allman said.
It was Team USA’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympics, which was an unexpected surprise as it came on Day 4 of track and field competition. Germany’s Kristin Pudenz took silver, and Cuba’s Yaime Perez won bronze.
Her background as a competitive dancer helped her with the rhythmic and repetitive motion of throwing discus.
“It’s not how she finishes, but what we try to do is, in the middle, collect her energy and release that energy,” Allman’s coach Zebulon Sion said. “It’s aesthetically pleasing — the lines, the balance, it’s stacked just right and no weird angles.”
This was Allman’s only event of the 2020 Summer Olympics.