DeAnna PriceNewsTrack & Field

Proud Night for U.S. Women Hammer Throwers as Janee' Kassanavoid and DeAnna Price Win Silver and Bronze at Worlds

by Brian Pinelli

(L-R) Janee' Kassanavoid and DeAnna Price pose for a photo after winning silver and bronze, respectively, in the women's hammer throw finals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 24, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

Emotions were high and tears were shed as Janee’ Kassanavoid and DeAnna Price celebrated their silver and bronze medals in the hammer throw at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Thursday night.

Kassanavoid, 28, improved upon her bronze medal from last summer’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon, with a third-round throw of 76.36 meters, an effort that held up for silver.

Price, 30, who won gold at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, started slow, fouling on her first two attempts, but then dug deep and rebounded to unleash a 75.41-meter throw in the fifth round. The rebound awarded her bronze.

The women’s hammer throw turned into a North American sweep as Canadian Camryn Rogers unleashed the 8.8-pound metal ball and its four-foot wire, a winning distance of 77.22 meters. Rogers’ first-round effort survived all six rounds of the 12-competitor field.

Kassanavoid savored her best-ever performance at a major championship event. She said there was additional satisfaction after an average showing in qualifying.

“When I stepped into the ring, it was a brand new day,” Kassanavoid said about the final at the National Athletics Center. “I was super patient and had a lot of confidence in myself to execute what I know I can do. 

“The ball just went flying – Itried to build off that every single throw. I wanted to leave it all out there and have no regrets, so I gave it all that I could.”

Kassanavoid said it was an honor to share the podium with Price, both of whom are from Missouri.

“Midwest girls – it’s pretty awesome,” she said. “It’s so amazing to see the hammer flourish in the U.S.”

Kassanavoid became choked up discussing her heritage as a Native American women on a special evening. The Team USA athlete grew up in a small Missouri town as a member of Comanche Nation. She is committed in supporting indigenous youth involvement in sport as an ambassador and trailblazer for fellow Native Americans.

“My bigger mission and my goal in sport, outside of throwing hammer, outside of being an athlete, and being a medalist and making history as an indigenous woman just empowers me to perform at these meets,” Kassanavoid said. 

“I have such a community – love and support backing me and our history and what we went through as a nation, there’s no way I could quit, there’s no way I can fail.

Janee' Kassanavoid reacts after her silver-winning throw in the women's hammer throw finals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Aug. 24, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

“So this medal means a lot more – it’s a huge win for us and honoring my people, and my nation as a Comanche and as an indigenous women. I’m super honored and happy to bring this medal home,” Kassanavoid said.

“They’ll be celebrating tonight in Kansas City,” she said, in a bit less serious tone and with a big smile.

Price has fought severe ankle and hip injuries, and painstakingly in the lead-up as a gold medal favorite for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She underwent ankle reconstruction and hip labrum surgery, persevering and regaining hopes about her chances in Japan. However, she tested positive for COVID-19 and forfeited her opportunity to represent Team USA at the Games.

At one point last season, Price considered retirement from her sport.

“This medal means so much to me, even more that the gold medal at Doha 2019 because I didn’t think I was going to be here,” Price said, with tears flowing. “I fought so hard every day.

“To have two Americans on top of the podium tonight. It is such a great honor and to be able to represent, it’s amazing.

“There’s a new change of the guard and we’re so excited about the future of hammer throwing in the United States,” Price said.

Kassanavoid and Price noted that they gained inspiration from their fellow U.S. throwers, Laulauga Tausaga and Valarie Allman, who claimed gold and silver, respectively, in the women’s discus finals on Wednesday night.

There were proud moments and positive takeaways on Thursday night, looking forward to the Olympic Games Paris 2024. The prosperous evening under the lights within the Hungarian capi could have been even more fruitful.

Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Brooke Andersen was arguably the favorite coming into the world championships; however, she faltered in qualifications on Tuesday. Anderson – who holds the world leading mark of 2023 at more than 80 meters – failed to get the ball out of the cage on both of her first two tries. Her third-round mark of 67.72 meters was still about three-and-a-half meters short of the final qualification spot.

Kassanavoid hammered home that the future in U.S. women’s hammer throwing is bright. There are high hopes, expectations and greater distances to reach for Paris.

“It’s a big day for the States and hopefully someday soon, we’ll be getting that sweep,” she said.