KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lightly recruited in high school, Christian Cantwell was never a Missouri high school state champion or NCAA champion at the University of Missouri, but he went on to be a world champion, two-time Olympian and Olympic medalist in the shot put.
Cantwell grew up in Eldon, which is in central Missouri between Jefferson City and the Lake of the Ozarks.
During his Mizzou career, Cantwell was a six-time first-team All-American and the 2000 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year, but he found his greatest success on the international stage after turning pro.
He finished fourth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in the shot put, fouling on five of six throws and missing a spot on the 2004 Athens Games team by one place.
Cantwell, who failed to mark at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, had won 14 consecutive meets in the shot put entering the 2004 Trials, including the first of three World Indoor Championships gold medals in March 2004 in Budapest and a personal record 73-11 1/2 earlier in June 2004.
He atoned with a second-place finish at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
The U.S. men were expected to dominate the shot put at the 2008 Beijing Games and all three, including Cantwell, easily made the final.
None were in medal position entering the final throw before Cantwell unleashed a put of 69 feet, 2 1/2 inches to claim the silver medal.
Four years later, he finished fourth at the 2012 London Games with a mark of 69-6 1/4, missing the bronze medal by less than two inches.
Cantwell is also a four-time U.S. champion indoors and three-time U.S. champion outdoors in the shot put.
Additionally, Cantwell qualified for the NCAA indoor championships in the weight throw, finishing as high as ninth on three different occasions (2000, 2001, 2003), and qualified for the NCAA indoor championships in the discus.
He won two more World Indoor Championships titles in the shot put in 2008 and 2010 and also claimed gold at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships.
Entering the Tokyo Games, he owns eight of the top 95 best marks all-time in the shot put.
The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.
41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.