Carlinville’s Card leads Team USA in Olympic debut
Kelsey Card’s preparation for one of life’s most incredible accomplishments culminated Monday evening at the 31st Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium.
Card, the collegiate national champion in the discus earlier in the summer with a personal best throw of 208-feet-5 inches, capped a wild few weeks by placing 25th at Rio, which was the top finish for Team USA.
Card, a 2011 graduate of Carlinville High School, had a best toss of 185-feet-1 feet on her third and final attempt, coming up short as only the top 12 advanced to Tuesday’s finals.
It capped quite a thrilling summer for the Macoupin County native, who turns 24 on Saturday. She qualified for the Olympics by placing third at the U.S. Trials in Eugene, Ore. in early July with a toss of 197-feet-3 inches.
The first throw was a scratch as Card stepped into the Olympic ring Monday evening after a brief weather delay. She competed in Group B.
The second throw went 51.16 meters, followed by 56.41 on her third and final attempt. The cutoff for qualifying was Shanice Craft of Germany, who placed 12th at 60.23 meters.
Still, Card had the best distance for Team USA. Shelbi Vaughan placed 29th at 53.33 meters, while Whitney Ashley scratched on all three attempts.
Heading into the finals, Yaime Perez of Cuba had the best distance of 65.38 meters, followed by China’s Su Zinyue at 65.14 meters and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia at 64.81 meters.
In Tuesday’s finals, the gold medal was won by Perkovic, the favorite heading in, as she tossed the discus 69.21 meters to top them all. Melina Robert-Michaon of France took silver at 66.73 and Denia Caballero of Cuba was third at 65.34 to claim the bronze.
Card now will have a chance to enjoy the rest of the games over the final week of competition. She has been chronicling her journey on a Facebook page and seems to have collected quite a number of Olympic-themed pins along the way.