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Lewis-Smallwood hits personal best!

Chicago Tribune - At 35, Gia Lewis-Smallwood has improved her personal best in the discus for the second straight year. In doing it Friday at the Diamond League meet in Glasgow, Scotland, the former University of Illinois thrower also upset reigning Olympic and world champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, who had been unbeaten in six meets this season and had won 25 of her last 27.  Lewis-Smallwood's fourth of six throws was 221 feet, 9 inches, topping her previous best by 4 feet 3 inches and beating Perkovic by the same amount. It also made Champaign's Lewis-Smallwood the third longest woman in U.S. history, just six inches from Stephanie Brown-Trafton's U.S. record. She has been the quintessential late boomer, making her first world championships team in 2011 and first Olympics in 2012 and taking fifth at the 2013 worlds. Lewis-Smallwood did not win her first U.S. outdoor title until last year and then made it two straight last month. "This is the one thing you can be pretty doggone old and still throw well," she told the Champaign News-Gazette this week. "It's not like any of the other sports. Thirty-five is not like you are barely holding on by your fingernails. That's the reason why I picked the discus. I knew I could have a very long career." Lewis-Smallwood had gone three seasons without a personal best until hitting 217-6 a year ago, an improvement of 2 feet, 4 inches.

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