George Woods (athlete)

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Olympic medal record
Men's Athletics
Silver 1968 Mexico City Shot put
Silver 1972 Munich Shot put

George Woods (born February 11, 1943 in Sikeston, Missouri) was an Olympic track and field athlete.

As a senior at Sikeston High School, Woods became the first Missouri high school athlete to top 60 ft (18.3 m) in the shot put event, setting a Sikeston school record that still stands to this day. He would go on to attend Southern Illinois University (Carbondale).

In a competitive career that spanned 3 Olympiads, Woods knew what it was to almost reach the top of the mountain. After winning the US Olympic track and field team trails in the shot put in 1968, he was overtaken by fellow American shot putter Randy Matson (Texas A&M) in the Mexico City games, settling for the silver medal behind Matson’s Olympic record performance.

Four years later at the 1972 Munich Olympics, he again entered the games as the American Olympic trails champion and the favorite for Olympic gold. He came close, but was again denied Olympic gold. Wladyslaw Komar, a virtual unknown from Poland, hurled a huge PR and Olympic record of 21.18 m (69 ft 5¾ in) on his first throw of the competition. Woods responded, steadily and methodically, reaching 21.17 m (69 ft 5½ inches) in the 4th round. While Komar never approached his opening effort throughout the series, Woods couldn’t pick up the final centimeter on his remaining 2 throws. He would settle for another silver medal. Woods would win the trails again in 1976, but finish out of the medal contention in Games of the Montreal Olympiad.

Woods had a great indoor career, winning national championships in 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1973. His 1973 meet record of 69 ft 9½ in stood as the meet record for 20 years. A year later in 1974, Woods set the indoor world record at 22.02 m (72 ft 3 in), a mark that would stand for 11 years. He ranks 5th among shot putters all time indoors, and his record throw is the 10th longest indoor effort of all time. His outdoor best ranks him in the top 40 putters of all–time worldwide, an amazing statistic after nearly 30 years.

He was inducted to the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2007.

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