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Former Rutgers Thrower Headed To The Olympics

Patch logo Patch 6/21/2021 Dan Shalin
a person in a swing: Former Rutgers thrower Rudy Winkler competes in the hammer throw final on day three of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. © Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images Former Rutgers thrower Rudy Winkler competes in the hammer throw final on day three of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

EUGENE, OR - Rudy Winkler, who spent the 2018 season competing in track & field for Rutgers, earned his second trip to the Olympics Sunday, while also setting a U.S. record in the men's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials.

Winkler, 26, won the hammer throw, and his distance of 82.71 meters (271 feet, 4 inches) on the second of his six throws, broke the 25-year-old national record of 82.52, which was set by Lance Deal in 1996.

Winkler will represent the U.S. at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which will take place from July 23 to Aug. 8 after being postponed last summer due the coronavirus pandemic. Winkler also competed for the U.S. at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he finished 18th

This past weekend, Winkler had five throws of 80 meters, while no other competitor broke 80.

"(To have five over 80) is a bit unbelievable," Winkler told LetsRun.com. "If you saw me during the competition, I would walk out of the circle throwing 80 saying 'this is crazy.' It felt effortless."

An Averill Park, New York-native, Winkler is the No. 2 ranked hammer thrower in the world and will be looking to medal in Tokyo. The U.S. has not won a medal in men's hammer in 25 years. Americans Daniel Haugh (2nd, 79.39) and Alex Young (3rd, 78.32) also will be in contention for medals.

Winkler competed as a collegiate undergrad at Cornell, and he was the NCAA outdoor champion in 2017, after finishing as the runner-up in 2016.

He graduated from Cornell with a bachelor's degree in information science in 2017 and transferred to Rutgers, eventually earning a master's in business and science with a concentration on cybersecurity.

While at Rutgers, Winkler competed during the 2018 season as a grad transfer, finishing fourth (73.74 meters) at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

On his profile on AthleteBiz.us, Winkler spoke about the mentality that has led to his success in competition and the classroom.

"I truly treat each day like a new one and I try my best not to get caught up in a bad practice. I believe this mentality extends beyond the track, as well," Winkler said. "With every hurdle that I face, I feel that I am able to conquer it by continuing to look forward."

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