Three years ago, the Rutgers track and field team welcomed former national champion Rudy Winkler to the program. After graduating from Cornell and winning an NCAA title in the Hammer Throw the year before, Winkler attended graduate school on the banks while competing for the Scarlet Knights in his last year of collegiate eligibility. He won a Big Ten title in 2018 and eventually graduated with a Master’s of Business and Science with a concentration in Cyber Security.
While he now works at RWJBarnabas as a cyber security analyst, Winkler never stopped competing in the Hammer Throw. This summer, he qualified for his second Olympics in the event. At the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, Winkler made history while punching his ticket to the Tokyo Games. He broke Lance Deal’s 25 year old American record of 82.52m/270-9 with a throw of 82.71m/271-4. It was the second best throw in the world in 2021 and made Winkler a true contender for the gold medal at the Olympics after winning the U.S. Trials.
The qualifying round for the Hammer Throw at the Olympics took place on Sunday in Tokyo and Winkler advanced to the Final on his second attempt. With a distance of 78.81 meters, Winkler punched his ticket to compete for gold. It was the second best throw made by any competitor in the qualifying round. It earned him an automatic bid to the Final, which takes place on Wednesday, August 4 at 7:15 a.m. ET.
After finishing 18th in the hammer at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Winkler will try to become the first American to earn a medal in the event since Deal earned the silver in 1996 in Atlanta. You can watch the live stream of the Hammer Throw Final on Wednesday here.
@TeamUSA Rudy Winkler gets the Auto- Qualifier with a toss of 78.81 meter on his second throw. Again great coverage of the field events by @USANetworkTV @usatf @nationalthrows pic.twitter.com/jd1K9X2gw0— Jeff Elwell (@JefferySElwell) August 2, 2021
UPDATE: Rudy Winkler finished 7th in the Hammer Throw. It was a better performance in his second Olympic Games but a disappointment overall, as he fell well short of his personal best.