Nashua Olympian places 27th in shot put

It was the experience of a lifetime, coming on the original Olympic grounds, used for the games between 776 B.C. and 393 A.D.

But for Nashua’s Laura Gerraughty, it was still a tough morning.

In the qualifying rounds of the women’s shot put competition Wednesday in Olympia, Greece, the 21-year-old Gerraughty, who graduated from Nashua High School and attends the University of North Carolina, finished 27th out of 38 competitors. The top 12 advanced to the finals.

In action shown on MSNBC between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. EDT, Gerraughty got off to a tough start, with a throw of just over 53 feet. When her second throw was worse, she stepped out of the ring and fouled.

On her third and final attempt to qualify for the final, Gerraughty threw 54 feet, ½ inch, well off her personal best of 62 feet, 10 inches.

Unfortunately for fans who stayed up late or set their alarms to watch Gerraughty, her first throw wasn’t shown, and on her third throw a tight shot of her technique was used so viewers didn’t get to see the flight of the shot put.

The top throw in qualifying was by Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus, who threw 64 feet 7 inches. Irina Korzhanenko of Russia was next at 63 feet 9 inches. Yumileidi Cumba of Cuba had the third best qualifying throw, 62 feet 8 inches.

The 12th and final qualifier was Meiju Li of China with a toss of 59 feet 6 inches.

The top American was Kristin Heaston, who finished 22nd overall at 56 feet 4 inches.

Korzhanenko won the gold medal later in the day with a top throw of 69 feet, 1¼ inches. Cumba won the silver medal and Nadine Kleinert of Germany took the bronze.