Former Bison Otterdahl Ready to Carry Out Olympic Dream

Competes in the shot put at the Tokyo games August 2-5

Video Courtesy: NBC Sports/Olympics

FARGO, N.D. — There have been seven former North Dakota State athletes to compete in the Olympics and only one has come from the men’s track and field team. After a year long postponement, Payton Otterdahl carries out that honor in Tokyo.

“I think it’s finally settled in. It took a couple weeks but were finally, finally feeling like an Olympian.”

Preparations stateside are wrapping up for thrower Payton Otterdahl as three days from now the North Dakota State alum heads to Tokyo to compete in the summer Olympics. It took a life time personal best throw at the Olympic Trials of 71 feet 11 inches, claiming the third and final spot by just one inch.

“At first it was just so much disbelief that I accomplished the biggest goal and dream that I’ve had for so long,” Otterdahl said. “This was the biggest goal I’ve had my whole life and made it a reality. Now I’ve come to terms with it and ready to compete again.”

Otterdahl goes into the competition with the same relaxed mindset and approach that helped him get to this point.

“I’m coming in ranked seventh in the world right now so it’s the same. The pressure is not on me,” Otterdahl said. “They’ve already announced who are going to be the medal guys. I just want to have a good day like I did at the trials and hopefully it’s enough to medal.”

Claiming a spot on the team proved to the 2019 NCAA indoor champion that he can compete with anyone and it’s helped develop a good routine.

“There’s always room for technical improvement. That was part of the training program then and it stays now,” Otterdahl said. “If I have an area of weakness try to improve it but it’s the same as it was going into the trials. Nothing is broken so don’t try to fix it and I’m just staying the course.”

When Otterdahl arrives in Tokyo, he’ll have a week until the field events begin and with COVID restrictions limiting the Olympians to the athletes village and their venues to train, it’s not stopping the former Bison from being locked in on the world’s biggest stage.

“It usually hits when I first walk out into the stadium,” Otterdahl said. “Although, in case it’ll be a little different than what I’m use to with the entire places being empty but nonetheless it’s still an Olympic meet and I’m still standing amongst the best shot putters in the world so it’s got to be go-time.”

Otterdahl has been cleared to travel having tested negative three times and his throws coach, Justin St. Clair gets to be alongside him through the whole experience.

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