BERLIN (AP) — Christian Cantwell of the United States won the shot put title at the world championships Saturday, beating Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski.

The American won with a throw of 72 feet, 3 inches, the best of the season, overtaking Majewski on the fifth of six attempts. Majewski took the silver with a throw of 71-10¾, while Ralf Bartels of Germany picked up the bronze with a throw of 70-1½.

Defending champion Reese Hoffa of the United States was fourth.

“I have won medals in the past but not that one. To win it in that fashion is even more exciting,” Cantwell said. “I did what I wanted to do and it feels great.”

Already leading after four throws, Majewski came up with his biggest toss of 71-10¾ on his fifth attempt. He figured it would be enough to add a world championship to the Olympic title he won in Beijing.

“I thought after that throw that it was over,” Majewski said. “But Christian was very strong today. You could see it warming up, and he held up under the pressure.”

Throwing right after Majewski, Cantwell stepped into the pit and did something he hadn’t done on his previous attempts – he relaxed.

“I was rushing, trying to throw far,” Cantwell said of his earlier attempts. “So I said: ‘Just slow down. Just try to bend the fingers back and see what happens.’ And that’s what happened – I cranked them back and got the flip out there a little ways.”

After the ball landed in the thick grass, the American pumped his fists and pounded his chest in celebration.

“I knew it was good when it left my hand, I just didn’t know how good,” Cantwell said. “I was hoping it was going to be 23 (meters) and I could seal it right then, but unfortunately it didn’t land that far.

“Gravity has its disadvantages,” he joked.

The result was enough to give Cantwell, who has long been a dominant shot putter at smaller meets but one who has wilted under pressure in major events, his first world outdoor championship.

Teammate Adam Nelson, who won the 2005 world title and finished fifth in Berlin, said Cantwell’s victory “validated a lot of his career so far.”

“I’m really thrilled for Christian,” Nelson said. “This is a win for him that’s a long time coming.”

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