Michelle Carter went all out for this one, never mind that this isn't an Olympic year or even a World Championship season.
It's still the shot put, and it's competition, and Carter craves all of that. To that end, the American women's record holder in the event went with a new look Wednesday - freshly dyed red hair to go with a reddish/pink top and gray bottoms, and a radiant smile to match.
Carter won the Capitol Shot, spinning and unleashing big efforts with the Capitol dome as a majestic backdrop, to capture the USA Track & Field Championship on a historic day. Carter's best of 63 feet, 9 3/4 inches topped a strong field as she defended her title, inspired by a crowd that filled two grandstands and were three people deep around the sector in the first such national event held outside the main venue that will house the rest of the meet at Sacramento State, starting today and ending Sunday.
Carter has long insisted on holding onto her feminine side as she uncorks efforts with a 12-pound steel ball that most mortal men can only dream of.
"I grew up wanting to wear a dress but I was always outside playing in the dirt," Carter said with a laugh. "The make up, the hair, the outfit, if you look good, you'll feel good and do good."
Carter has a famous name in these parts. Her father Michael Carter in the 1979 Golden West Invitational at Sac State set the national prep record in the shot with a forever unfathomable 81-3 1/2 effort before winning Olympic silver in 1984 and winning three Super Bowls with the 49ers as a nose tackle. He now coaches Carter. Michelle Carter won a GWI title here, too, in 2002, and she won the 2006 NCAA shot put title at Sac State while competing for Texas.
"I didn't know Sacramento loved us so much," she said about the family. "It was great to feel that. It really carried me."
Carter took one attempt in the morning qualifying round, going 60-9.5 Felisha Johnson took silver at 62-11 1/4 on her final toss and Tia Brooks took bronze at 61-9 1/2.