Alfred Oerter Jr. (September 19, 1936 – October 1, 2007) was an American athlete and a four-time Olympic Champion in the discus throw…..as he became the first athlete to win a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games.
Oerter began his Olympic career at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics….where he was not considered the favorite…..but he unleashed a throw of 184 feet 22 inches (56.64 m)….which, at the time, was a career best….and the throw was good enough to win the competition by more than 5 inches (130 mm). In 1957, it seemed that Oerter’s career would be over at the age of 20 when he was nearly killed in an automobile accident….but he recovered in time to compete at the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics….where he was the slight favorite over teammate Rink Babka….who was the world record holder….for Babka was in the lead for the first four of the six rounds….when he gave Oerter advice before his fifth throw….as Oerter proceeded to throw discus 194 feet 2 inches (59.18 m)….while setting an Olympic record….as Babka settled for the silver medal when he was not able to beat Oerter’s throw. During the early 1960’s, Oerter continued to have success and set his first world record in 1962….and in the process, he was the first to break 200 feet in the discus. He was considered a heavy favorite to win a third gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games….where he was hampered by injuries before the Games began. He was bothered by a neck injury….and he tore cartilage in his ribs shortly before the competition….as he then competed in great pain….but in typical Al Oerter fashion….he set a new Olympic standard and won a third Olympic gold medal despite not being able to take his last throw due to the pain from his ribs. As before, he bettered his own record with a throw of 61 meters (200 ft).
Oerter returned to the Olympics in 1968 at Mexico City….where teammate Jay Silvester was cast as the favorite…..as many discus pundits felt that a 32 year old Oerter would not be able win the event because he had never thrown as far as Silvester did on his average throws. At the Olympics, however, Oerter hurled another Olympic record throw of 64.78 metres (212.5 ft) on his third throw….and as his record held ….he became the first track and field athlete to win gold medals in four consecutive Olympic Games. This accomplishment would be equaled many years later by fellow Americans Carl Lewis and swimmer Michael Phelps. Al Oerter is an inductee of the IAAF Hall of Fame.
Jane Wardell Frederick (born April 7, 1952) is a former heptathlete from the United States….who she set the first official world record in the women’s heptathlon….while gaining a total number of 6104 points on April 24, 1981 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California. Frederick captured the bronze medal at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics…after finishing behind teammate Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Like so many other USA Olympic Team athletes…..she was robbed of her dreams and opportunity to compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympics….with no thanks to US President Jimmy Carter….who proved that in sports, THE WORST TICS ARE POLI-TICS.