Tuesday, March 28, 2017

V 7 N. 22 Brian Oldfield R.I.P.

Noting the passing of Brian Oldfield on March 26, 2017.   Oldfield came from Elgin, IL and left the world from that same town. He was 71 years old.  Competed for Middle Tennessee State.  He survived a lot longer than most would have expected.  He lived hard, played hard, and above all threw hard.  Credited with developing the spin in the shot put, he threw an even 75 feet in 1975 although he wasn't given credit at the time due to his being considered a 'professional'.  Today it wouldn't have mattered.   Years of heavy lifting, and no doubt use of PEDs left him with a bad back, knees and other ailments that contributed to his last years being ones of pain and discomfort.   His years of flamboyance probably brought more attention to the sport than might have been expected.  Few could could call it negative attention, although Randy Matson supposedly said something like , "If someone like him beats me, I'll retire."  I don't know if Randy's last meet was precipitated by that happening, but it certainly indicated that not everyone thought Oldfield was an asset.  Sports Illustrated chose to recognize him  with a cover issue.  

1972 Olympic Trials at Eugene, OR
Brian Oldfield, George Woods, Al Feuerbach

 One of Brian's most memorable quotes was self deprecating to the extreme.  "No man is entirely worthless.  He can always serve as a bad example."  I also like  "When you doubt your powers, you power your doubts."  Did those really come from Brian Oldfield?  Who knows?  But that measuring tape at the side of the shot ring, erased most of the doubts.

Oldfield's only appearance in the Olympics was 1972 where he finished sixth throwing  20.91. GB
 I have two memories of Brian Oldfield, both from the '72 indoor nationals.  
    I had been late confirming, so I got the floor in the 17th floor room with Les Berman and I forget who, but obviously someone more important than I was.  The AAU's choice of hotels had some miles on it.  I remember standing at the top of the escalator and watching this guy - Oldfield - get bigger and bigger and bigger.  By the time he reached the top, he was the most massive man I had ever seen.  
    The other memory was a couple days later, as the 40-50 So Cal athletes and coaches were flying back to LA.  Oddly, LA was fogged in.  We refueled in Las Vegas in preparation for repeated circling.  A major character in this scene boarded.  This hot babe in short, short, short cut off jeans got on.  She was  an advertisement for procreation.  Beyond hot.  She and Oldfield were on each other like butter on toast.  
    Three hours later, having been diverted to San Francisco for the night, the two, arms around each other, wandered off to the waiting hotel room.  Debbie and I ran 11 miles around the airport before going to our rooms to find that we had missed the meal and had to settle for sandwiches.  
    My roommate that evening was Chuck Debus.  I remember seeing him use a hairdryer - men didn't use hairdryers, actually they still don't - and thinking he was gay.  Jesus, that was 45 years ago (just called Debbie to congratulate her on the anniversary) and I remember that like it was yesterday.
    Wait a minute.  That wasn't Oldfield - well, the elevator story was.  That was Russ Hodge.   As Rosanna Rosanna Danna used to say, "Never mind". Roy


I remember reading the issue of Sports Illustrated with Oldfield on the cover, or rather a part of the story about him.  Funny what one remembers.  The article included an alleged conversation that took place in the lobby of a hotel between two New England Patriots (one of whom was Sugar Bear Hamilton) and a hotel representative when Oldfield entered the hotel.  The Patriots were in town for a football game perhaps.

Anyway, the dialogue went something as follows:

Hamilton:  Who is that?
Representative:  Brian Oldfield.
Hamilton:  What does he do?
Rep:  He’s a shot putter.
Hamilton:  Why doesn’t he play football?
Rep:  He doesn’t like football.
Hamilton and his teammate in unison:  THANK GOD!

Like I said, funny what one remembers.


Jim Allen

Oldfield Video click here   at 4:10 in this video he's seen dunking a shot through a basketball goal.

Top 25 Individual Men  (Source Wikipedia)
  • Accurate as of September 2016


123.12 m (75 ft 10 in)Randy Barnes United States20 May 1990Westwood
223.06 m (75 ft 734 in)Ulf Timmermann East Germany22 May 1988Khania
322.91 m (75 ft 134 in)Alessandro Andrei Italy12 August 1987Viareggio
422.86 m (75 ft 0 in)Brian Oldfield United States10 May 1975El Paso
522.75 m (74 ft 712 in)Werner Günthör  Switzerland23 August 1988Bern
622.67 m (74 ft 412 in)Kevin Toth United States19 April 2003Lawrence
722.64 m (74 ft 314 in)Udo Beyer East Germany20 August 1986Berlin
822.56 m (74 ft 0 in)Joe Kovacs United States17 July 2015Fontvieille[12]
922.54 m (73 ft 1114 in)Christian Cantwell United States5 June 2004Gresham
1022.52 m (73 ft 1012 in)John Brenner United States26 April 1987Walnut
Ryan Crouser United States18 August 2016Rio de Janeiro[13]
1222.51 m (73 ft 10 in)Adam Nelson United States18 May 2002Gresham
1322.43 m (73 ft 7 in)Reese Hoffa United States3 August 2007London
1422.28 m (73 ft 1 in)Ryan Whiting United States10 May 2013Doha
1522.24 m (72 ft 1112 in)Sergey Smirnov Soviet Union21 June 1986Tallinn
1622.21 m (72 ft 1014 in) ADylan Armstrong Canada25 June 2011Calgary
22.21 m (72 ft 1014 in)Tomas Walsh New Zealand5 September 2016Zagreb[14]
1822.20 m (72 ft 10 in)David Storl Germany9 July 2015Lausanne[15]
John Godina United States22 May 2005Carson
2022.10 m (72 ft 6 in)Sergey Gavryushin Soviet Union31 August 1986Tblisi
22.10 m (72 ft 6 in)Cory Martin United States23 May 2010Tucson
2222.09 m (72 ft 512 in)Sergey Kasnauskas Soviet Union23 August 1984Minsk
22.09 m (72 ft 512 in)iMika Halvari Finland7 February 2000Tampere
2422.02 m (72 ft 234 in)Dave Laut United States25 August 1982Koblenz
22.02 m (72 ft 234 in)iGeorge Woods United States8 February 1974Inglewood
The early years

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V 8 N. 50 February, 1968

FEBRUARY 1968 The two Kerry's  Pearce and O'Brien followed by Frank Shorter. This is not from the race being described below. ...