As disappointed as Kamloops shot putter Dylan Armstrong might have been with his fifth-place Olympic finish Friday, people in his home town still felt he did them proud.
Crowds gathered around TV sets throughout the city during the noon hour to watch Armstrong make a best competition throw of 20.93 metres — not his personal best and not enough for an Olympic medal, but a solid fifth.
In the lobby of the Tournament Capital Centre where Armstrong trains, the eyes of about two dozen people were locked on a TV set tuned in to Olympic coverage.
“Dylan has been known to throw over 22 (metres) in the past,” said Jorgen Sveistrup.
He predicted Armstrong would finish second, going along with Sports illustrated’s expectations. Even though Armstrong didn’t fulfill that prediction, Sveistrup admired the Kamloops athlete.
“He certainly has put Kamloops on the map,” he said.
No amount of crossed fingers, of held breath, of soft urging “Okay, let’s go Dylan” and “Come on, Dylan, come on buddy, let’s do it” helped, although Ronda Paulson did her best.
The City employee took her lunch break to be riveted to the TV. She knew the Armstrong family before Dylan was even born, as his dad worked with her husband.
She was pregnant with her daughter at the same time Judy Armstrong was carrying Dylan. The babies were born four months apart and the families spent a lot of time together when the kids were young.
“He’s a sweetheart,” said Paulson, who still sees Dylan and Judy when they’re at the Tournament Capital Centre.
Her daughters both competed as athletes, so she had a smaller-scale sense of what Judy Armstrong must have been feeling as her son took centre stage in London.
“We’re all nervous. I don’t know how Judy’s doing it,” she said.
The Hall/Watson family’s rabbit-ear reception at their Westsyde home wasn’t cutting it, so they turned up at the TCC to watch Armstrong.
All three of the kids — Renee, Evan and Daniel Hall — have been involved with track and field, said mom Linda Watson.
So they know the Armstrongs and know how much has gone into these Olympic minutes.
Renee Hall said seeing Dylan compete on the world stage inspires other athletes, regardless of a medal.
“When you start to seriously pursue any sport, it’s something everyone secretly dreams of (the Olympics),” she said.
“It makes it a lot more real to have someone like Dylan in the club.”