LONDON — The hard part is over for Dylan Armstrong.
The 31-year-old from Kamloops was seventh in the men's shot put qualifying Friday morning, the first step in his quest for a medal at the London Olympics.
"Qualification, my nerves are high and pressure's on so just to make the final," said Armstrong. "Now I can go back and relax and try to bang one out there tonight."
Armstrong threw 20.49 metres on his last throw ahead of Friday night's final. American Reese Hoffa threw 21.36 to lead the qualifying while David Storl of Germany was second with 21.15 and Tomasz Majewski of Poland threw 21.03 for third in a jam-packed Olympic Stadium.
Justin Rodhe, also of Kamloops, fouled on all three throws to miss out on a spot in the final.
The six-foot-four, 345-pound Armstrong is looking for an Olympic medal after missing one four years ago in Beijing by less than a centimetre.
Armstrong's hopes of qualifying looked briefly in doubt when he threw 19.99 with his first throw, and then faulted on his second when the shot slipped from his hand.
"I knew I had it in me to obviously qualify, I put in the work this year," said the defending world silver medallist. "Just it's a whole different atmosphere out there, you try and prepare as much as you can to be in a situation like this, but obviously nothing comes close to this.
"This isn't my first rodeo and I've just got to go for broke tonight."
Armstrong was the No. 1-ranked shot putter in the world last year but has slipped to seventh this season as he battled back from an elbow injury suffered over the winter.
He planned to spend the afternoon in the athletes village.
"I feel good, you know how it is in the morning," Armstrong said. "Everyone forgets that, you're up early, you're competing early so to try and get fired up, it's a long process. I'm going to go back, get some good food in me and probably get a little quick sleep in and then get organized for tonight."
Meanwhile, in women's heptathlon, Jessica Zelinka of London, Ont., got off to a strong start but faltered in the second event.
The 30-year-old raced to a personal best 12.65 seconds in the 100-metre hurdles, good enough for second overall at behind British star Jessica Ennis.
But Zelinka quickly tumbled to 19th place after finishing tied for 10th in her high jump group. The result is disastrous for Zelinka, who now has a long way to battle back into medal contention.
Brianne Thiesen of Humboldt, Sask., meanwhile is eighth overall after finishing 11th in her high jump group and sixth in the hurdles.
Next up for Zelinka and Thiesen is the shot put and 200 metres.
The heptathlon concludes Saturday with the long jump, javelin throw and 800-metre race.