Mason Finley captured the men’s discus championship at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday in Eugene, Ore., and will represent the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 5-21. Finley’s winning throw came on his second of six attempts in Friday’s finals when he recorded a throw of 208’ 1” or 63.42 meters.
Finley was amazingly consistent throughout the Trials. On Friday, he dominated the field with the top four throws of the day. He began the finals with a throw of 203’ 6” (62.04 meters) in the opening round of the finals. He also posted a throw of 204’ 1” (62.20 meters) on his fifth throw and threw 207’ 4” (63.21 meters) on his sixth and final throw of the day.
He will be joined on the Olympic team by Tavis Bailey and Andrew Evans. Bailey finished second with a throw of 202’ 0” (61.57 meters), and Evans placed third, with a throw 200’ 10” (61.22 meters).
“Mason (Finley) came out of the gate right away with a solid throw in the finals,” said UW associate head coach and throws coach Paul Barrett. “Given the difficult weather conditions, I think having that good first throw gave him confidence and then he hit his best throw in the second round. He ended up having a great series -- consistently above the field. He stepped up in a major way in difficult weather conditions. If he can throw the distance he threw in the prelims on Thursday at the Olympics he has a chance for a medal. It is good to see good things happen to good people, and Mason is a great person.”
The most recent former UW student-athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games was Wyoming swimmer Scott Usher, who competed in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Finley began the U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday by finishing first in the qualifying round with a career best throw of 218’ 11” or 66.72 meters. His previous career best was 65.73 meters, which he threw in June of this year. Finley advanced to the men’s discus final on Friday that included the top 12 throwers from Thursday’s prelims.
A year ago, he placed sixth in the 2015 U.S.A. Track and Field Championships, which was also held in Eugene, Ore. His sixth place throw in last year’s U.S. Championships was 200 ‘ 6” or 61.11 meters.
The native of Buena Vista, Colo., won the 2014 Mountain West Conference individual title in the discus back on May 16, 2014, when he recorded a throw of 202’ 11” for the second-best mark in MW Championship history. Finley was named the Outstanding Male Athlete at the 2014 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He went on to place sixth in the discus at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon to claim the 11th All-America honor of his college career. He began his college career at the University of Kansas where he has been training most recently.