Tokyo Olympics: Tears and cheers as Tom Walsh's former workmates celebrate shot put bronze

Tom Walsh opened New Zealand's account on what would prove to be a history-making day for Kiwis at the Tokyo Olympics, winning bronze in the men's shot put.

There were tears from the Kiwi shot putter at the Olympic Stadium, as well as cheers from his former chippy workmates, watching on from Christchurch.

The Timaru-native delivered a season's best effort to win bronze, adding another medal to a similar effort from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Walsh was overcome with emotion, firstly right after his bronze medal throw and then when he reflected on what he'd accomplished.

"To be standing here now with the flag on my back, it's pretty cool," Walsh said after his bronze medal throw.

Walsh had his fellow athletes cheering him on in Tokyo, but equally as vocal were his former workmates in Christchurch who were given the afternoon off the building site to cheer on the former chippy.

"I think the boys are quite happy to be in from the cold actually," one former colleague told Newshub.

Things started to get tense when Walsh put himself in medal contention.

It's been a while since Walsh was on the tools but they believe they know what fueled him to a second Bronze medal.

"He always had two lunch boxes with him.

"A lot of protein. Probably about four litres of milk a day and about four sandwiches as well."

And while it became evident no one was catching American Ryan Crouser who set a new Olympic record, Walsh gave one last push for silver.

It wasn't enough, but third was just reward for Walsh after a difficult 18 months. Something everyone is happy about.

With records tumbling, it's a bronze in the golden age of men's shot put.