Silver Creek High School graduate Valarie Allman won a gold medal in the Olympic Games Monday, when she threw for 68.98 meters in the discus finals. The 26-year-old defeated Germany’s Kristin Pudenz by 2.12 meters. Cuba’s Yaime Perez won the bronze.
Allman collected the first gold in track and field for the American team in the Tokyo Olympics. It was also the first discus medal won by an American woman since 2008.
Allman took an unusual path to the discus competition, spending a year traveling the U.S. as part of the “Pulse on Tour,” a dance program from choreographers for the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” according to USA Today. But as a teenager at Silver Creek, she decided dancing was not in her future.
The thrower on Silver Creek’s track and field team convinced Allman to come to their annual spaghetti dinner but the invitation came with a catch: “They said anybody that came to try throwing could come to the dinner,” Allman told USA Today.
She found she had a knack of discus and found her background in dance helpful.
“I kind of fell in love with the event,” she told the newspaper. “There is a poetic movement to it that has really helped when I first started, and it’s become such a passion in every sense. It’s a combination of grace, strength, balance, having an awareness of your body and being able to move it with force. That’s mainly what discus throwing is.”
Allman went to Stanford where she became a school record-holder and six-time All-American. She placed seventh at the 2019 World Championships, throwing 202 feet, 10 inches, USA Today said.
“I improved over time. I found that I would make it to the next echelon and get humbled, but for me that was really motivativing,” Allman told USA Today.
She threw an American-record 230 feet, 2 inches in 2020. She later won this year’s Olympic trials with a throw of 229 feet, 5 inches, according to USA today.