Stephanie Brown Trafton won the discus at the U.S. track trials in Eugene, Ore., with a throw of 213 feet, 10 inches, earning a chance to defend her Olympic gold medal in London.
Brown Trafton, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in Beijing, essentially put the event away on her first throw with a mark of 207-8, which no one bettered. The official winning mark came on her final throw. Her personal record of 222-3 came last month when she broke the American record at a meet in Hawaii.
“I really feel like I can be at the podium at London, if I can mentally prepare,” she said in a statement released by USA Track and Field. “At this level technique is secondary to mental toughness.”
Aretha Thurmond was second at 204-2 for a spot on her fourth Olympic team.
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“It’s just been an awesome ride. I think competing at this level has made me a better person,” Thurmond said in a statement released by USA Track and Field. “I’m just overwhelmed having been able to do this for this long, and it still excites me.”
Former American record-holder Suzy Powell-Roos finished third in the event at Hayward Field on Sunday with a throw of 197-6, but she doesn’t have the Olympic “A” standard of 203-5 required to make the team.
The third spot on the U.S. team went to sixth-place finisher Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who has met the standard this season. Her best throw Sunday was 192-10.
“It’s my first Olympic Team. I’m happy about that. I wish I could have placed higher, but I made it,” Lewis-Smallwood said in a statement released by USA Track and Field. “I’m happy for the sacrifices I made. Every year I’ve just stayed in the game, and for that I am very happy.”
Brown Trafton, an Arroyo Grande High and Cal Poly graduate, will be appearing in her third straight Olympics. She also made the U.S. team and competed at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The Olympic Trials also serve as the U.S. national championships, meaning Brown Trafton won her second straight national title. This is, however, her first Olympic Trials victory.
“I still feel like I’m a newbie. I’m excited to get back to London,” she said in a statement released by USA Track and Field. “I have some family connections in London; this will be the most exciting competition of my life.”
She also finished fifth at last year’s world championships and also competed in the world championships in 2009.
Two more former Cal Poly stars, Maggie Vessey (women’s 800) and Aris Borjas (men’s javelin) will be seeking Olympic berths today when the finals of their events are held.
Also today, former Cal Poly star Ben Bruce competes in the preliminaries of the men’s 3,000 steeplechase, as does Nipomo’s Kara June in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase preliminaries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.