Armstrong, Hoffa Slated to Compete at Downtown Elite Shot Put

March 20, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Dylan Armstrong, silver medalist at the 2011 World Championships and last year’s Downtown Shot Put Champion, as well as Reese Hoffa, 2012 U.S. Indoor Shot Put Champion and currently the world’s third-ranked thrower, will both take part in the April 18 downtown shot put event as announced by Kansas Relays officials Tuesday. The two finished first and second, respectively, at the event a year ago and will headline the 2012 downtown shot put that will feature some of the world’s top throwers.

Armstrong, who hails from Kamloops, British Columbia, recorded the top throw in the world in 2011, a personal best mark and a Canadian national record of 22.21 meters (72-10.50 ft.). Armstrong won the 2011 downtown event, winning on a throw of 21.52m (70-07.25 ft.) to claim the inaugural title. The Kansas Relays victory propelled him to an outstanding 2011 season as he won 12 events including gold at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico as well as the Canadian national championships. He also took silver at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in September.

Hoffa, a native of Evans, Ga., is a two-time U.S. champion in the shot put and has gained nation-wide fame through his quirky personality and touching family story, as well as becoming one of the dominant figures of the sport. He was the runner-up to Armstrong at the downtown event a year ago and went on to place fifth in the event at the 2011 World Championships. Over the past six years, Hoffa has remained among the top-five ranked throwers in the world and currently sees himself at No. 3 through the 2011 indoor season.

The primetime event is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, and will kick off the 85th Kansas Relays, which will take place April 18-21 at Memorial Stadium. With the shot put one of two events slated to take place in downtown Lawrence, the elite field will highlight the non-traditional locale. Fitting in with the non-traditional theme is a field of competitors as unique as the location they will be competing in. Here’s an additional look at this year’s throwers:

Dylan Armstrong

World Ranking: No. 12
Hometown: Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Notable Achievements:

  • 2011 World Championships Silver Medalist
  • Inaugural Kansas Relays Downtown Shot Put Champion (2011)
  • Six-time Canadian National Champion
  • Set Canadian shot put record in 2011
  • 2008 Olympian
  • 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion

About Armstrong: Competing in his second-straight Kansas Relays, Armstrong has long dominated the shot put in Canada. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Armstrong set a new Canadian record with his throw of 69-0.25, but missed out winning a bronze medal by just a centimeter. Armstrong was victorious in the shot put at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Canadian to win the event in 28 years.

Reese Hoffa

World Ranking: No. 3
Hometown/College: Evans, Ga./Georgia `01
Notable Achievements:

  • 2012 US Indoor Champion
  • 2008 Olympian
  • 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion
  • Won back-to-back World Outdoor Championships (2006-07) and U.S. Outdoor Championships (2007-2008)
  • 2006 World Indoor Champion
  • Six U.S. Championships runner-up finishes (three indoor and outdoor)

About Hoffa: While Hoffa has been a longtime power in the sport, his quirky personality and touching family story have brought the former Georgia Bulldog notoriety. After winning the Drake Relays shot put title as a college junior in 2000, Hoffa did a victory lap around the stadium while eating a turkey leg, which started his post-victory “Turkey Trot” tradition. An avid professional wrestling fan, Hoffa paid tribute to his favorite sport at the 2004 Home Depot Invitational by donning a mask and cape while competing and dubbing himself “Unknown Shot Putter”. The getup worked for Hoffa, as he recorded a personal-best throw, and declared it a personal goal of his to compete wearing a full bear suit and be brought out to the field in a cage. Away from the competitive arena, Hoffa is a speed cuber who can solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle in 30 seconds. The veteran thrower has been outspoken about his adoption at the age of four. Hoffa’s mother was just 13 years old when she gave birth to her first child and only 15 when Hoffa was born. Four years later, the family’s Louisville, Ky., house burned down, and Hoffa and his brother were taken to an orphanage. The two brothers were then separated when Hoffa was adopted into another family. As a child, Hoffa, who was born Maurice Antawn Chism, changed his name in order to embrace his new life. However, Hoffa never stopped wondering about his old life and embarked on a years-long search to find his birth mother, all the while not knowing that she was searching for him at the same time. The two finally reconnected after finding one another on the internet in 2000, and have remained a part of each other’s lives to this day.