The following life
story is taken from Wikipedia:
Randel ("Randy") Matson (born March 5, 1945 in Kilgore, Texas) is a
former United States Olympic shot put thrower. In 1968 he stood
6'6.5", and weighed about 20 stone (280 lbs/127 Kg).
Randy Matson was reared in Pampa, the seat of Gray County in the
Texas Panhandle. At the age of twelve, he participated in his first
track meet. He won the 50-yard dash, the 100-yard dash, the long
jump and the high jump and finished sixth in the shot put. He
attended Pampa High School, where he was a three-sport standout in
football, basketball, and track and field. He won All-District
football honors, and was a two-time All-District and one-time
All-State basketball player, averaging 15 points per game. In track
and field, he was a two-time State Champion in both the shot put and
the discus and could run the 100 yard dash in 10.2 seconds. This led
him to be named an All-State and All-American in track and field.
Randy Matson is considered by many to be the greatest shot putter of
all time, considering his massive improvement of the world record.
He chose to attend Texas A&M University, where he continued to work
on his shot put skills. In his first full year of using the heavier
college (adult or Senior) shot (16 pounds), Matson won the Olympic
Silver Medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
From 1965 through 1971, Matson entered 79 competitions and won 73 of
them. In a two month span in 1965 he broke the world record three
times, adding over 2 feet to the previous mark, until it stood at
21.52m (70'7.25"). He earned his B.B.A. in Marketing from Texas A&M
in 1967, and was then drafted by teams in the National Football
League, National Basketball Association, and the American Basketball
Association. He turned them all down to concentrate on track and
field. He had a considerable rivalry with Neal Steinhauer, but
usually came out on top.
improved his world record to 21.78m in 1967, and was rewarded with
the James E. Sullivan Award, given to the nation's outstanding
amateur athlete. He earned the Olympic Gold Medal at the Mexico City
Games in 1968, and was named the 1970 Track and Field News Athlete
of the Year.
In 1967 he threw the discus to within three inches (8 cm) of the
(then) world record, and was [briefly] considered as a possible
double Olympic champion in shot and discus - like Clarence Houser in
1924 - but Matson only competed in the shot in Mexico City.
He just missed making the 1972 Olympic team when he finished fourth
at the Olympic Trials. Matson retired after that contest as the only
man who had ever thrown a shot put over 70 feet. He was inducted
into the Texas A&M Hall of Fame in 1972, the Texas Sports Hall of
Fame in 1974, the National Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, the National
Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1984, and the National High School
Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.