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“Yes, it is true, I knit"

The snarling adrenaline fuelled atmosphere of the shot put circle may seem a million miles away from the granny-dominated world of knitting, but world indoor shot put champ Ryan Whiting is just as happy playing with a ball of wool.

“Yes, it is true, I knit. I got into it through my best friend, an art student from Brooklyn. He taught me to knit a few scarves aged about 16. I actually went on to teach my mum how to knit, which is kind of the wrong way around.

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A knitter gets his needles in a twist (Ryan Whiting not pictured).

“When I was in Pennsylvania, it was nice to knit. It was nice to be able to sit and do something with your hands when you are watching TV. I didn't do as much knitting when I was in Arizona [where he studied].

“The last thing I knitted was probably a blanket for by wife which I did about 18 months ago. I can take breaks from knitting and pick it up again. It is a bit like riding a bike."

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Blanket finish: Ryan Whiting's knitting handiwork.

“I've knitted hats, scarves and blankets before, but never gloves. I don't know how anyone could do that.

“It is on the profile on my website and the USATF profile, so I'm a bit of a legend for it. Lots of the other athletes ask me about it. I'm not shy on telling them, because that is who I am.”