Bill Green (athlete)
28 April 1960
|Residence||Napa, California, and Fallen Leaf Lake (Lake Tahoe).|
|Occupation||Current: Insurance Executive Former: Professional Athlete|
|Employer||Medical Insurance Exchange of California (MIEC) Oakland, California|
|Title||Director of Marketing|
|Children||William John, Jr. ("Jack") and Victoria ("Tori")|
|Men’s Hammer Throw|
|Competitor for United States|
|5th||1984 Summer Olympic Games|
|Pan American Games|
|2nd||1987 Bloomington, IN (Disqualified)|
|World University Games|
|4th||1983 Summer Universiade|
|United States Olympic Trials (track and field)|
|10th||1980 Eugene, Oregon|
|1st||1984 Los Angeles (Olympic Trials Record)|
|USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships|
|1st||1979 Bloomington, IN (Junior)|
|3rd||1982 Knoxville, TN|
|4th||1983 Indianapolis, IN|
|2nd||1984 San Jose, CA|
|1st||1986 Eugene, OR|
|2nd||1987 San Jose, CA|
|NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship|
|4th||1979 (Division II)|
|5th||1981 (Top American)|
|4th||1982 (Top American)|
|4th||1983 (Top American)|
William ("Bill") Green is a former United States Record Holder in Track and Field, who finished 5th in the hammer throw in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.
Personal Life and Family 
Bill Green grew up in the Silicon Valley region of the San Francisco Bay Area, graduating from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California in 1978, and California State University, Long Beach in 1984 with a bachelors degree in Political Science. He is married to Julie Green and has two children, William John Jr. ("Jack") and Victoria ("Tori"). The family currently resides permanently in the Napa Valley and part-time in the Lake Tahoe community of Fallen Leaf Lake.
Green is the son of William Hipkiss, a prominent attorney and actor in community theater who in the 1970s and 1980's performed in over 20 productions at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in Muskegon, Michigan and other parts of Western Michigan, most often in the lead or a starring role. His mother is Barbara Green, former mayor and city councilwoman in the historical Lake Tahoe town of Truckee, California, who also served one term as County Supervisor for Nevada County, California. Bill was adopted at age 5 by Barbara Green's second husband Kenneth Green, and raised in California since the age of 3. Ken Green was an engineer educated at Stanford University, with advanced degree's in both mechanical and petroleum engineering, and was the son of Stanford professors.
Athletic career 
Green was coerced by the Fremont High School (Sunnyvale, CA) coaching staff into trying out for the sport of Track and Field, based upon natural strength witnessed in a physical education weightlifting class. A discus thrower for two years in high school who failed to qualify for the California state meet, in a life-alering turn of events he was offered a college scholarship in 1978 Art Venegas, who was at the time embarking on what would become the most prolific career coaching throwers in NCAA track and field history. Wth 33 national champions in 28 years as assistant and head coach at UCLA, a record of never approached by any other university, Venegas would make Bill Green his first athlete to move from collegiate to international level performance.
Encouragement from Art Venegas to try the hammer throw as a college freshman resulted in surprising early success, including an NCAA All American designation and an AAU National Junior Champion title after five months in the event, and a ranking of third in the United States at the senior level after three and a half years. Based on these early results, the two set out to challenge athletes from Europe and Eastern Europe-an audacious decision given that Americans hammer throwers had been shut out at the world level for more than two decades. The goal required transcending not only the current level of athletic performance, but also research and study in order understand new, complex changes in the biomechanics of hammer throw technique.
Technical advancements in the hammer throw emanating from the Soviet Union were increasing distances at a furious pace in the early 1980s, and the complex science of these changes was not well understood at the time in the United States. Representing a new American hammer throw generation not mired in the technical orientation and training methods of athletes from the 1970s, the two believed they could self-teach the concepts of the new technical revolution despite the mystery it represented outside the Soviet Union and East Germany. This ambition began with the experience competing against Russian prodigy Igor Nikulin at the USA vs USSR Junior National Team competitions in 1979, an athlete who go on to become one of history's all time performers and an Olympic medalist in 1992. In witnessing a version of the hammer throw movement rarely seen before, they were getting cutting edge insight on a technique revolution which transformed the event from a strength orientation to a focus on speed. Green and Venegas believed they could adopt the new technical changes and reestablish the United States as a viable competitor internationally, starting with the NCAA national meet which at the time was overwhelmingly dominated by foreign athletes. Although relatively new to the event, Green broke the 11 year-old American Collegiate Record and finished each year as the top American at the NCAA Championships challenging older and more experienced Europeans. In his fifth full year as a hammer thrower, he broke the United States National Record three times and placed 5th at the 1984 Olympic Games.
He is credited with reviving international respectability for the United States in the hammer throw with his performance in Los Angeles, establishing a prelude to the country's first Olympic medal in 40 years with Lance Deal's 2nd place finish in the 1996 Atlanta Games. In 1984, his second best career throw to date resulted in the highest Olympic placing by an American in 28 years, then one of only 3 athletes from the United States to place in the top 5 in Olympic competition since 1948.
Endorsements and Media Appearances 
He appeared in television shows, commercials, and print advertisements for such companies as Eastman Kodak, The Hershey Company (Care Free gum), the Ford Motor Company, Mazda, Seafirst Bank, Mizuno Corp., and Nike, Inc.,and HBO, some of which were formal product endorsement agreements. He also worked as a consultant to filmmaker Danny DeVito, who produced, directed and starred in the children's movie "Matilda", based upon the final novel by best-selling British author Roald Dahl. His work on the film included adviser for actress Pam Ferris, whose character in the story Miss Agatha Trunchbull had been an Olympic hammer thrower. His involvement in the United States Olympic Committee's Job Opportunities Program was featured on an edition of NBC's The Today Show in January, 1986.
Retirement from Athletics 
Competing in an area of sports emblematic of the dominance of the Eastern Bloc athletic system at the height of its success in the 1980s, Green grew to become disillusioned with the lack of support and training resources necessary for American athletes to challenge the communist sports machine, and the drug use implications required to medal at a second Olympic Games. This frustration was exacerbated by what was still limited interest in the United States for a difficult, technically complicated event which is not appreciated on the same scale in his home country as it is internationally.
In August, 1987 he became embroiled in a controversy generating international headlines when he was disqualified for doping at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he won the silver medal. An 18 month suspension from sports was successfully overturned on appeal to the United States Track and Field federation following a 10 month process, which determined he was eligible to compete in the 1988 United States Olympic Trials. Without sufficient time to prepare, and due to the protracted appeal mechanics at the international level, he was not able to compete in Seoul, South Korea in the next Olympic quadrennial.
This turn of events sealed his building frustration with the practical difficulties facing American hammer throwers, and the degree of anonymity in in the United States. With a part-time executive career in the insurance industry progressing significantly at this time, it became difficult to justify another four year investment which would delay professional ambitions outside of athletics. After as quick a trajectory to world level performance as any athlete historically, Bill Green retired prematurely from Track and Field in 1987 at age 27.
Professional career 
Upon retirement from athletics in 1987 he focused on what would become a career in the medical malpractice insurance industry, begun two years earlier while still an athlete under the United States Olympic Committee's Job Opportunities Program. Beginning as an executive trainee at the Century City, California office of Johnson & Higgins, then the third largest insurance broker in the world, at the time of his retirement from sports Green became a sales and marketing executive with the The SCPIE Companies (a division of Johnson and Higgins). Until it was sold in 2009, the Southern California Physicians Insurance Exchange (SCPIE) was the largest largest provider of medical liability insurance in California. In his fifth year as a full-time employee he was named Vice President of Sales for SCPIE, which by this time had left its governance by Johnson and Higgins and was an independent insurance company. He later held the same title at The Doctors Company in Napa, California from 2006-2010, the largest medical malpractice insurance carrier in the United States, and has been Director of Marketing for the Medical Insurance Exchange of California (MIEC) in Oakland, California since 2010.
The Hammer Throw in America 
Along with the discus throw, shot-put and javelin, the hammer throw is one of the four throwing events in Track and Field. Although it is contested as a regular aspect of track meets worldwide, its history and legacy have been dominated by European and Eastern European influence, which can be said to have had an impact on interest in the event in the United States. With roots dating back to the 15th Century, the contemporary version of the hammer throw is also one of the oldest of Olympic competitions beginning with its inclusion in the 1900 Games in Paris, France, the second Olympiad in the modern era. The hammer evolved from its early informal origins to become part of the Scottish Highland Games in the late 18th Century, where an original version of the contemporary event is still contested today. It is believed that, like many of the Highland Games events, origination of the hammer throw is tied to a prohibition by King Edward I of England against Scotsmen possessing weapons during the Wars of Scottish Independance in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries. In the absence of weapons of war, the Scot's turned to alternative methods for military training. The Highland Games became a more formalized event after the Highland Clearances of the late 18th Century, which were an agricultural revolution that involved forced displacement of commoners in the Scottish Highlands by the aristocracy.
The hammer throw's smaller following in the United States than in other parts of the world can be attributed to a dearth of American Olympic medals or World Records since the early 1960s. The United States dominated the event in the Olympics for the first half of the 20th Century with a total of 7 gold medals, more than any country historically. But only two Americans have won Olympic medals in the hammer throw since 1948 and only four have placed in the top 5, and the last hammer throw World Record held by an American was broken in 1965. This poor international result is a byproduct of a diminished talent pool attributable to the danger associated with the hammer, which has resulted in a prohibition at the high school level in all parts of the country except the state of Rhode Island. The problem of lack of visibility and accessibility to the event is perpetuated by the preference of many Track and Field meet organizers to hold the competition away from spectators on an field adjacent to the track oval in the interest of safety, particularly in the United States due to liability concern. This trend became more commonplace in the early 1980s when advancements in technique pioneered in the Soviet Union increased average performance over 30 feet, increasing the chances of injury from an errant throw.
There is hope that this is changing due to the efforts of America's last World Record Holder and Gold Medalist in the hammer, Harold Connolly, who successfully championed inclusion of the hammer throw in youth Track and Field programs starting at the age of 15. The tangible results from this change have been a higher level of teenage performance by a handful of athletes from 2004-2010, which may improve results at the international level which have fallen off in the 2000s and return the United States to at least the limited success at the world level of a few individuals from the late 1980s and 1990s. Since 1968 only Bill Green (5th in Los Angeles, 1984), Lance Deal (2nd in Atlanta, 1996), Dawn Ellerbe (7th in Sydney, 2000), Amy Palmer (8th in Sydney, 2000), and Kibwe Johnson (9th in London, 2012) have advanced beyond the Olympic qualifying rounds to compete with the European and Eastern European athletes that have historically dominated the event. American Jud Logan originally placed 4th in the 1992 Barcelona Games, but was subsequently disqualified for doping.
|United States National Record
May 15, 1984 — July 15, 1984 10:00 AM
|United States National Record
July 15, 1984 3:00 PM— April 28, 1985
(Previous record holder Dave McKenzie regained his title for 5 hours on July 15, 1984 in a morning competition in Northern California, with Bill Green retaking it with two records that afternoon in Southern California)
|American Collegiate Record
February 28, 1982 — June 7, 1985
|Long Beach State School Record
February 28, 1981 — Present
See also 
- "Seven inducted into Hall of Fame". CSULB Online 49er. August 9, 2001.
-  Olympic Games video clip
-  Montage of Olympic Games hammer throwers
-  Soviet Union documentary on the Hammer Throw-footage from the 1986 Goodwill Games
-  Autobiographical article