As of Monday, July 23, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Kibwe Johnson made one piece of history and took a step closer to another during the hammer throw competition of U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials.
The Suwanee native and 1998 North Gwinnett grad became the first Gwinnett high school graduate to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team by winning the trials Thursday in Beaverton, Ore.
Johnson, who had fought through a wrist injury suffered in late May, actually clinched the competition in his first toss of his preliminary flight, which went 74.40 meters (244 feet, 1 inch), though he left no doubt after throwing a season-best 74.97 meters (245-11) in the second round of the championship finals.
Those throws outdistanced fellow team members Chris Cralle (243-11) and A.G. Kruger (242-6).
"I wanted a season best," Johnson told a national television audience following the competition. "And I knew I was probably in good enough shape to do that."
Now, Johnson's focus turns to the 2012 Olympic Games next month in London, and his quest to become the first U.S. hammer thrower to earn a medal since the 1996 games in Atlanta, and perhaps the first U.S. gold medal thrower since 1956.
"It's medal time," Johnson said in his post-competition television interview. "It's long overdue."