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Gold medalist Michelle Carter of the United States celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's Shot Put on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Michelle Carter, First US Woman To Win Gold In Shot Put, Stuns In Rio

Michelle Carter won a stunning Olympic gold medal in the Women’s Shot Put Final in Rio on Friday night, a sport that is often cruelly mocked for the shape of its female athletes.

Michelle Carter, First US Woman To Win Gold In Shot Put, Stuns In Rio

Carter, 30, proclaimed herself “Diva,” and made her mark in history last weekend by becoming the first American woman to ever win a gold medal in the event. Nevertheless, she hopes to achieve yet another goal: that of changing the perception of her event and the strong women who participate in it.

“I’m in a sport where people don’t look at us like women, they don’t look at us like being girls, or feminine,” Carter said. “But I’ve been girly all my life and so I couldn’t separate… between the sport and being a woman.

“I love hair, I love make up, I love fashion and I love throwing the shot put.”

A certified professional makeup artist, Carter has often spoken out, both in person and on social media, against body shaming, and also advocated for larger women to embrace their appearance, or as she puts it, “just have fun.”

“One of my sayings is: look good, feel good, do good,” the San Jose native said. “If you are feeling good, you look good, you are confident about yourself, you are going to go out there and you will rock it.”

Carter also owns a small online business, “Shot Diva,” which sells make up packages.

“It combines two things that are part of me, the shot put and being a Diva. I love all these things: make up, hair, fashion, and just embracing my femininity, and I put it together,” she added.

When Carter hurled her last heave, she beat New Zealand’s two-time defending Olympic champion Valerie Adams and became the first American woman to win a shot put medal at the Games in 56 years. Since the women’s competition was introduced in 1948, American Earlene Brown, who took bronze in 1960 in Rome, had been the country’s only woman to medal in shot put.

Carter’s winning throw, and a personal best, came in her final attempt at 20.63 meters. On her second throw, Adams recorded 20.42 meters.

Besides defeating Adams, Carter also defeated her coach and father, Michael, who won a shot put silver medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Now, she joked, her plan was to regularly remind him she could always be better.

“I’m gonna be walking around the house saying ‘yo daddy, I got you’,” she told reporters afterwards, as Michael looked on and laughed in the audience.

Michael built a successful American football career after winning his shot put silver, winning three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. He remains the only athlete to have won the Super Bowl ring and an Olympic medal in the same year.

For him, watching his daughter compete in the final rounds was both nerve-wracking and exciting.

“As parents, we jump for joy, are happy, but as her coach, I’m responsible for what happens when she fails. But she finally succeeded,” Michael told Reuters.

Carter finished 15th at the 2008 Beijing Games, and then fifth in London four years ago. Nevertheless, the win was worth the wait for Michael.

“The coach has retired for this year and the dad is now just walking around happy, with his chest stuck out,” he said.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 13: Gold medalist Michelle Carter of the United States celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Shot Put on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

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