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Al the Olympian

Al Oerter barely made the Olympic Teams and was never favored to win the Olympic Games. His work ethic to be at his best carried him on to Olympic victories. It was his long term commitment to excellence that was his greatest joy in competition. Al never competed against others---it was a test of his own capabilities at that moment in time.

 

Melbourne 1956 184’11” 56.36 meters

Seen as a long shot for a medal, the 20 year old youngster surprised the Melbourne crowd by winning the Gold Medal on his 1st throw.

 

Rome 1960 194’2” 59.18 meters

Al broke the Olympic Record by ten feet after an assist from fellow teammate, friend, and world record holder, Rink Babka, who was leading the competition. It was a true Olympic moment when competitors brought out the best in each other.

 

Tokyo 1964 200’ 1” 61.00 meters

Days before the discus event, Al tore the cartilage from his ribcage and was advised not to compete and to heal for 6 weeks. Al set another Olympic Record on his 5th and final throw once again beating the odds.

 

Mexico City 1968 212’ 6” 64.78 meters

Considered too old and everyone else well ahead in distances, Al continued to warm-up during a rainstorm and won, setting his final Olympic Discus Record.

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