Al Oerter: Athletics
Alfred Oerter, Jr. (September 19, 1936 – October 1, 2007) was considered to be one of the greatest figures in Olympic track and field history. He started his Olympic career at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. Oerter became the first athlete to win all gold medals in four consecutive Olympic competitions. He dominated the discus throw event at the Olympics between 1956 and 1968 and continued to maintain his high stage of competition in the 80s.
Greatest Sporting Achievements
Al Oerter won gold for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, 1960 Rome Olympics, 1964 Tokyo Olympics and 1968 Mexico Olympics for the discus throw event, as well as the gold for the 1959 Chicago Pan American Games for the same event. In 1980, he won silver for the Olympic Boycott Games in Philadelphia.
Oerter was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Why Was He So Good?
He stands among the top of any pantheon of the Olympic history. Al Oerter was a superb competitor. He became the first of many to break world record after world record. His competitive greatness made him into an Olympic legend.
What You May Not Know
- When he was 20, he suffered an automobile accident that nearly killed him.
- After his professional athlete career, he became an abstract painter. Oerter enjoyed the freedom of abstract art. He didn’t go to school for it since he thought it might stifle his creativity.
- In 1954, he broke the U.S. high school record for the discus throw.
- Al Oerter’s career blossomed under the track and field coach Bill Easton when he attended the University of Kansas.
Was he a legend?
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