Olympic firsts are always something to celebrate, but when they give you extra bragging rights around the family dinner table, that's truly the cherry on top. In an immense final throw Friday evening in Rio, Michelle Carter took gold in the women's shot put in an upset win over two-time defending champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand. Carter is the first U.S. woman to ever win a gold medal in the event. But there's an added bonus to her win in Rio — it makes her and her father the first American father-daughter duo to medal at the Olympics.
A throw of 20.42 meters had Adams, who won gold in the event at both the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games, in line to capture the gold for a third time. Stepping into the circle for her final throw, Carter, who came in 15th and fifth in the shot put at the 2008 and 2012 Games, respectively, appeared calm and focused, a swipe of bold red lipstick on her lips. She unleashed a stunning throw with a distance of 20.63 meters and took the gold from Adams.
With her first five throws ranging from 19.12 meters to 19.87 meters, it was as if Carter had been saving the best for last. "I knew I had more in the tank," NRP reports Carter told reporters following her win. "And to be able to go out there and put the pieces together and pull it out, I'm just really excited."
Carter's historic win in Rio also continues a family legacy. Her father, Michael, took home a silver medal in the same event during the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Five years before that, in 1979, Michael shattered a national high school record by more than 2.5 meters in a throw Sports Illustrated called "the shot put heard round the world."
But Michael never pushed his daughter to follow in his footsteps, and reportedly downplayed his Olympic medal at home, according to Dallas Morning News. When Carter showed an interest in the shot put as a middle schooler, however, her father stepped up to coach her. He remains his daughter's coach to this day, cheering her on as she threw her way to an Olympic gold medal.
For Carter, her gold medal will come with bragging rights that extend well beyond being the first American woman to place first in the event. "Of course, I can't wait until I get the medal and I can walk around the house and say 'Daddy, I got you,'" Carter told NPR.