Mike Rowbottom

One small sidestep for a big man - one giant leap for shot putting.

Ryan Crouser’s tour de force at the University of California’s Drake Stadium on Saturday (May 27), which involved three efforts in excess of 23 metres with the best of them, 23.56m, improving his own world record by 19 centimetres, was a hugely significant event in his illustrious career.

It was the first time the innovation he made to his throwing technique this year "clicked", as he said, with spectacular results.

"I finally found the spread I have been looking for," he said after the performance at the Los Angeles Grand Prix. "That's what has me the most excited."

On February 18 this year the man from Portland in Oregon competed in Idaho and appeared to have added a centimetre to his 2020 world record of 23.37m. But shortly afterwards the mark was annulled for record purposes because the throwing circle was too big.

So, no new record. But what was not annulled was the impact of the new technique he had unveiled a week earlier at the Millrose Games, where he had set a season-leading mark of 22.58m.

That effort also allayed the frustrations he had endured at the same meeting in 2022 when another apparent world re ord of 23.38m was ruled out because of a faulty measuring laser.

The new technique involves Crouser shifting his starting point to the right and adding a step across to his throwing approach to generate greater momentum.

He admitted after its public debut that the novel approach had led to some inconsistency in his throws but added: “Hopefully we can get that worked out in the coming months.”

That aspiration has clearly been realised.

Here is the thing. Croucher did not need to experiment. By the time he turned 30 in December 2022 he was Olympic gold medallist, world champion and world record holder. At the point where he had got it made Crouser re-made it.

It is like the stories you hear of snooker players stripping down their technique and re-building it. The difference here is that it is likely others will take up Crouser's innovation.

It may not be as revolutionary a change as the one effected upon the high jump by Dick Fosbury, whose backwards approach caused the event to leap forward. But it is a potentially influential change to a sports event.

The phrase Fosbury Flop derived from a local newspaper report of an early appearance by Fosbury, who was described as "flopping" over the bar. Perhaps Crouser should now be thinking of trademarking his innovation? The Ryan Re-tread? The Crouser Shuffle?