Tom Walsh's gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in London proves the old adage true, that all good things in life start with a pint of beer.

Now to be fair, Walsh's journey to his maiden world title started way before his coach Dale Stevenson dragged him out of Athletics New Zealand's hotel on Friday. But with the Rio Olympic bronze medallist carrying a groin injury that was hampering him physically and mentally, action needed to be taken.

Walking to the site of Walsh's gold medal, at some time close to midnight in an empty London Olympic Stadium, Stevenson recalls his student asking him if they could get out of the hotel on the day before the men's shot put qualifiers after he'd injured himself in training.

The pair went around the corner and found a dark quiet corner and chewed the fat over some drinks - beer for Stevenson, coffee for Walsh.


"We just said, hey what's the situation? How you feeling about it? After a quick but fairly deep five minute cheat we sort of resolved that we've come this far and have nothing to lose. We can only deal with what we've got and put it to bed."

They both thought they'd eased each other's worries. Stevenson though was still concerned about the suspected minor strain to Walsh's adductor.

"It's significant, certainly in our sport when timing is so important and the movements he [Tom Walsh] does are so violent and aggressive, so there was a chance that we could make it worse... Full credit to our medical team here [London] who worked around the clock, managing the physical and emotional side in getting him there clear enough to feel like he could get the job done."

Almost an hour after he walked with a slight limp to the shot put circle in front of nearly 50,000 fans, Walsh threw 22.03 metres, which eventually would be good enough to earn him gold.

The 25 year old had to endure a nervous period as second-placed Joe Kovacs put the title in jeopardy by lodging a protest against a foul called on his final throw.

The American's distance was recorded at 22.08 metres which would've been good enough to bump Walsh from gold if it was upheld.

Thankfully for Walsh and his crew it wasn't.

"It was an interesting one. I didn't actually hear about it [the protest] until someone brought it up in the media mixed zone and it felt like someone had died! I'd just done this big victory lap and I hadn't won. But then Dale told me in the drug testing room, which was quite good, that I'd won. It was bit of a shame that it worked out that way, but that's just the way it is with these things".

Perhaps it's a case of the gloss being taken off his victory, but the part-time builder from Timaru still can't believe that he's the first New Zealand male to win a World Champs medal and third Kiwi overall behind Dame Valerie Adams (shot put titles 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013) and Beatrice Faumuina (discus in 1997).

"No one really threw probably what they thought they they'd need to, to win it. But that's the good thing about this sport, whatever it takes on the night it doesn't have to be massive."

It probably ended up being a good thing for Tom Walsh as the form of American Ryan Crouser leading into the World Champs was scintillating.

Up until today, the Olympic shot put champion was undefeated in 2017, hurling the shot past 22 metres regularly.

Walsh predicted he'd beat him.

"I knew what type of shape I was in and I knew that I was going to get him one of these days. I managed to beat him a number of times after the Olympics last year when no one thought I could, so that's where the confidence came from."

Walsh and his team were last seen entering an undisclosed building in an undisclosed location.

It may've been serving a sort of drink that's just kick started the good life for Tom Walsh.

Charlie Bristow is in London thanks to Air New Zealand.