RIO DE JANEIRO — For Michelle Carter, the shot put has always been a family affair.
For starters, it’s in her blood: Carter’s father, Michael, set the U.S. high school record in 1979 — a mark that still stands nearly four decades later – and won a silver medal in the event at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
A second fact speaks to Michelle Carter’s inherited athletic gifts: For nine seasons, from 1984-92, her father was an All-Pro defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, helping the franchise win three Super Bowls.
And the connection goes beyond genetics. Michael Carter has been his daughter’s coach throughout her career, giving him an unmatched perspective on her development into an Olympic medalist — part father, part coach, he fills a similarly unique role among the many American families gathered here for these Rio Games.
Michelle Carter joined him on the medal podium on Friday. She won gold in the event with a distance of 20.63 meters (68 feet, 8 1/4 inches), earning the USA its first track medal here and making the Carters the first father-daughter team to capture individual-event medals in Olympic track and field history.
“I’m just grateful we had this moment,” Michelle Carter said.
Carter’s winning distance, a personal best and an American record, came on her last throw of the event, pushing her ahead of two-time gold-medalist Valerie Adams of New Zealand (20.42 meters), the commanding favorite entering the Games.
“Everybody wants to come out and win the gold, and sometimes it takes a personal best, sometimes it doesn’t,” she said. “But to be able to have all those pieces come together, it’s a great feeling.
“I knew I had more in the tank. And to go out there and put the pieces together and pull it out … I’m just really excited.”
Asked to compare the feeling of winning a Super Bowl to coaching his daughter to gold, Michael Carter didn’t hesitate: “It’s no comparison,” he said. […]
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