Kibwé Johnson spent a week waiting after falling short of the Olympic qualifying standard in the hammer throw at the United States Olympic Trials on July 6.
His 75.11-meter throw in Eugene, Ore., was the United States’ second-best, but no American reached the 77 meters distance needed to earn an automatic berth. However, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) on Wednesday selected Johnson to fill one of nine available Olympic spots after only 23 throwers qualified for Rio.
Johnson, who lives in the area after being hired as a throwing coach at IMG Academy in the fall, also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, at which he finished ninth in the hammer throw and became the first American to reach the finals since 1966. He is ranked No. 21 in the world and will be one of three Americans competing in the hammer throw next month.
The 34-year-old former standout at the University of Georgia is one of the United States’ most decorated throwers of the past decade. He’s won gold medals at each of the past two Pan American Games, and he claimed silver in the competition before those. At the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico, Johnson set the event record with a throw of 79.63 meters. His personal best is 80.31.
This summer will mark the eighth time Johnson has represented the U.S. at a major international competition. He also has competed in the IAAF World Championships in Athletics three times since 2007 in addition to his appearances in the Olympics and Pan Am Games.