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UW discus thrower to represent U.S. in upcoming Olympic Games

WYOMING — A former University of Wyoming discus thrower will compete in the upcoming 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Mason Finley, a 6’8″, 335-pound athlete, was a theater major at the University of Wyoming from 2012-2014. After training with coach Paul Barrett in Laramie, Finely set his sights forward to becoming a professional in the sport.

As a 2017 world championship bronze medalist, Finley also won the Olympic Trails competition on June 25, throwing the 4.4-pound discus a distance of 63.07 meters (206.92 feet).

“I was able to settle in my technique and just get comfortable,” Finley said in an interview with Cowboy State Daily, “and able to win my second Olympic trials title, which I guess only two other discus Americans have done. So that was really cool.”

Originally from Salida, Colorado, the Olympian stumbled upon a discus in his father’s closet in fifth grade to later find out it was from when he was in college at the University of Wyoming.

“It was just something that he thought we both could do and enjoy,” Finley said. “And we did — we threw pretty much all year round. I did all the other high school sports, but we would just check in with it. It was just kind of like father-son fishing time — only throwing stuff.”

While this will not be Finley’s first Olympic Games, it is sure to be different than his previous experience in Rio de Janeiro.

“There’s no foreign spectators allowed at all, nobody outside of Japanese population will be even able to attend,” Finley said. “But they’re planning a watch party down here in Kansas City, so that’s gonna be good, but I hope the time difference isn’t too severe.”

In 2016, when Finley qualified for and competed in Brazil, the Olympic stage served as his international debut.

“My first international meet was the Olympics,” Finley said. “So that was really wild, throwing against all my idols that I’ve been watching on YouTube, and so I was very starstruck. But I made it out of the qualification round, which was a big deal for me, I think I took 11th.”

However, that is five years past, and Finley’s focus is now on Tokyo.

“My goal is to really overcome anything that’s thrown at me over there,” he notes (no pun intended). “And, yeah, get on that podium and try to get the shiniest medal possible.”

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