Tom Walsh vs. Ryan Crouser: An insight into shot put rivalry

Ryan Crouser, Tom Walsh
Ryan Crouser and Tom Walsh on the Rio Olympics podium (Photosport)

New Zealand shot put champion Tom Walsh has revealed that the camaraderie between himself and Olympic gold medallist, American Ryan Crouser, runs deeper than meets the eye.

The two met for the first time this year at the Big Shot Championships in Christchurch on Sunday - with the result mirroring the result in Rio.

Walsh said the two enjoy each other's company

"There's always a little bit of banter going on throughout the comp," Walsh told RadioLive's Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes on Sunday Sport.

A throw of 21.46m in the second round had the Kiwi briefly holding the New Zealand record.

"I just said, 'mate there you go, there's something for you to chase'."

Crouser fought back with a throw of 22.05m, sealing the win in Walsh's hometown.

 "He didn't need to say anything - He just looked at me and I knew."

According to Walsh, side bets are common practice at international meets, ranging from who's going to shout who dinner, and head starts on outer-competition friendlies.

"I went for double or nothing [in one bet] and I had to scull eight pints which was not that nice - I got through about four of them and I was a little bit dusty. I eventually got through eight, but it was a little bit rough."

Ahead of this week's second competition against Crouser in Auckland, the Olympic silver medallist said the bets will continue.

 "We'll have to adjust our betting scheme for sure coming into this week. Crouser's in such good nick, he might have to give me a metre or something like that anyway."

Crouser's spoken previously about his friendship with Walsh and their plans for his time in New Zealand.

"I grew up doing a lot of fishing and hunting and New Zealand's famous for it, so I'm hoping we might get a little bit of fly-fishing in and some saltwater as well," Crouser said.

Walsh has also included pig hunting in their schedule.

"We might just leave him in the bush in Marlborough somewhere and that will be fine," Walsh said.