Several local residents can claim a connection to an Olympic medalist with American shot putter Reese Hoffa locking up his first Olympic medal on Friday.
Hoffa, 34, earned the bronze after a toss of 21.23 meters (69.65 feet), just two feet short of the gold medalist, Tomasz Majewski of Poland, and an inch-and-a-half ahead of fellow American Christian Cantwell for a spot on the podium.
“We’re very excited,” said Hoffa’s aunt, Lois Noel of Springfield. “I have been texting my sister (Hoffa’s adoptive mother) back and forth until I reached my limit on texting.”
Hoffa, who was adopted by Cathy McManus and Steve Hoffa at the age of four and is the grandson of Carl Thomas Brady of Springfield, lived with his parents in Bardstown for several years before moving to Georgia, where he attended Lakeside High School in Evans, before attending the University of Georgia.
“He was determined to medal at the Olympics,” Noel said. “This is his third time (competing) and he finally got it. He’s been a world champion, indoor and outdoor, he’s got all kinds of titles.”
Hoffa won the the shot put crown at the 2006 World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Moscow, but had yet to place higher than seventh in two tries at the Olympic games. Now, as a seasoned veteran, Noel said Hoffa may be getting close to putting the heavy, metal ball down for the final time.
“I don’t know if I’d say he’s retiring, but as far as the Olympics, I think this is his last time,” she said. “Right now, I know he’s still going to be throwing at different places through September, but I’d heard that this would probably be his last Olympics.
Hoffa still has numerous relatives in the Washington and Marion County area.