In an event that the USA has dominated for several years now, one would think it would be difficult for a young newcomer to crack into the rankings. Ryan Whiting proved it could be done. Against the likes of fellow Americans Adam Nelson, Reese Hoffa, and Christian Cantwell, Whiting has risen the bar amidst a world-class field. Competing for Arizona State, he graduated with two NCAA Indoor Shot Put titles and one NCAA Outdoor victory. He was an All-American eight times in the shot-put and discus and set a collegiate indoor shot put record (21.73 meters / 71 feet, 3 ½ inches). Since graduating from college with a degree in engineering, Whiting has gotten married and moved back to Pennsylvania, where he grew up. He resides near Penn State University in order to attend grad school and continue to train. His most recent accomplishment has been winning the IAAF World Indoor title with a best mark of 22.00 meters (72-2 ½). He is no stranger to the rings of Hayward Field and, like so many other athletes, is looking forward to coming back to TrackTown USA for the Olympic Trials this summer.
What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene or your highest finish here?
I would say my fondest memory of Hayward Field was making my first outdoor World Championship Team last year. My highest finish in Eugene was at the 2010 NCAA Championships, where I topped off my collegiate career by winning my first discus title and my fifth shot put title — coming 3 centimeters from the collegiate record.
What most impressed you about the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008?
It is always amazing to me how welcoming the people of Eugene are for track meets. At the Trials the locals were wonderful and managed to fill the stadium every day!
Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?
The only thing I want to change from my last Trials experience at Hayward is to be one of the three who leave after the competition with a ticket to the Olympics.
As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?
In U.S. shot putting, there is no sure thing. We easily have the most competitive field of any event to be contested this summer. It will be a challenge, but right now my ONLY goal is to make the 2012 Olympic team.
Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
Track Town Pizza.
Being that the Shot Put gets a lot of attention at meets all over the world, how does competing at Hayward compare to other places in terms of fan support/enthusiasm?
Shot put is definitely one of the up and coming events in track and field. I have always loved competing at Hayward, it is easily one of the most supportive crowds I have encountered!
Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event to watch the meet and hang out at the festival?
I am planning on getting to Eugene about 4-5 days before the meet to train and get used to the small time change. Unfortunately right when I am done competing I will be leaving and (hopefully) going home to begin my preparation for London.
Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets (favorite restaurants/bars, etc.)
I love Track Town Pizza. That all-you-can-eat pizza for lunch is a tough deal to beat for a shot putter. I also used to always go to Villard St. Pub, but last time I was there it was gone.
Have you heard anything about the London Pub, the SuperBlock exhibits/vendors, the live performances, etc. being planned for the meet?
As of yet I have not heard of any of that. It is my fault as I am pretty single-minded in my goal of making the team at this point.