As a matter of fact, she is.
Here is the evidence.
Exhibit A: US Women’s Discus Throws over 65m
Okay, I know that’s hard to read, but I couldn’t cut and paste the damn thing without the margins going all goofy. Basically, what you’ve got there is a list of the 40 throws of 65m or better that have been produced by American women. By no means does Gia dominate that list. Suzy Powell has the most throws over 65m with ten, followed by Gia with nine. Stephanie Brown-Trafton has the farthest throw on the list (67.74m) followed by Powell (67.67m) and then Gia (67.59m). However, take a look at…
Exhibit B: Throws over 65m in International Competition
67.59m Gia (Glasgow)
66.29m Gia (Zagreb)
65.77m Gia (Oslo)
65.59m Gia (Paris)
65.38m Powell (Rethimno)
65.10m Aretha Thurmond (Monaco)
This list, she does dominate. And why, you may ask, is that a big deal?
That is a big deal because the throws on this list were taken inside of stadiums overseas.
I’m not going to condemn anyone for seeking out windy climates in an effort to break a record or achieve an “A” standard. But throwing bombs on the California coast has zero relevance when it comes time to go up against the best of the best at the Olympics or the World Championships, which are held…inside of stadiums overseas.
In order to contend for a medal, a female discus thrower must set aside the distractions of travel and the lack of those lovely ocean breezes and throw at least 65 meters.
Among American discus throwers, Gia has become the best at doing just that.
There are those who would argue that Stephanie Brown-Trafton should be considered the best ever after winning gold at the 2008 Olympics. I am a big fan of Stephanie, who is on the comeback trail after giving birth nine months ago. Last week, at the Chicagoland Throws meet she told me that she is feeling good and just needs to build up her strength levels in order to return to peak form. But the peak form that got her the gold in Beijing in 2008 with a throw of 64.74m is unlikely to win her a spot on the medal stand in Beijing in 2015 or in Rio in 2016. Sondra Perkovic, the defending World and Olympic champion, has shown a consistent knack for throwing 68-69m at the biggest meets. Australia’s Dani Samuels is having a great year, and there are a handful of others who have recently thrown 65+m in stadiums.
The only American thrower ever who has shown the ability to hang with that crowd is Gia.
Actually, she has done more than hang with them as of late. Last week in Glasgow in this stadium…
…she handed Perkovic her first loss of the season by launching a PR throw of 67.59m.
Gia is now the only thrower to have defeated Perkovic over the last two years. That alone might qualify her as the best.