Longmont’s finest is headed to the women’s discus finals in the 2020 Olympic Games.
On Saturday morning in Tokyo (Friday night in the United States), Silver Creek High School graduate Valarie Allman punched her ticket to the medal round of the field event when she threw for 66.42 meters in her first attempt of the preliminary round. All distances over 64 meters qualified for the finals.
She defeated every other female thrower in just one try.
Until the third round of the Group B prelims, no other athlete had met the 64-meter minimum to automatically advance. On her final attempt, India’s Kamalpreet Kaur hit 64 meters exactly to add her name next to Allman’s. The top 10 performers after that advanced as well to create a 12-person final.
Before the 2020 Olympics even began, Allman was one of the favorites to go for gold. The former Longmont resident began her USA Track and Field tour at the NCAA Championships in 2014, where she finished 21st. Since then, she’s shot straight to the top as she’s medaled seven times with two gold, two silver and three bronze medals in a number of different competitions, from the NCAAs and World University Games all the way up to the Olympic Trials.
Allman first qualified for the Olympics just this year, but she’s no stranger to top-notch competition. The 26-year-old Stanford graduate won her first gold medal in the discus competition at the Toyota 2019 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships with a throw of 64.34 meters (211 feet, 1 inch). Since then, she’s been at the top of her game.
Allman dominated the Olympic Trials at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field last month when, in a competition that wasn’t anywhere near close, she threw for 70.01 meters (229 feet, 8 inches) and defeated the silver medalist by 7.38 meters (24 feet, 3 inches). Those marks nearly earned her a new U.S. record, which she herself set in 2020 at 70.15 meters (230 feet, 2 inches). The previous record of 69.17 meters, which belonged to Gia Lewis-Smallwood, stood for six years.
After reaching the marks needed to qualify for the discus finals, Allman will head back out to the field on Monday to compete for Olympic golden glory at 5 a.m. Mountain Time. Should she reach for gold, she’d be just the third U.S. woman to achieve the feat behind Lillian Copeland (1932) and Stephanie Brown Trafton (2008).