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Bill Green (hammer thrower)

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Not to be confused with Bill Green (sprinter) who grew up in nearby Palo Alto during the same time period.
Bill Green
Personal information
Birth name William Hipkiss
Born 28 April 1960
Laurel, Maryland
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
Spouse(s) Julie Green

William ("Bill") Green (born April 28, 1960) is an American former track and field athlete. He is a former United States record holder and finished fifth in the hammer throw in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.

Personal life and family[edit]

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 bachelor's 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 1980s performed in over 20 productions at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in Muskegon, Michigan and other parts of Western Michigan.[1][2] 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.[3] Bill was adopted at age five by Barbara Green's second husband Kenneth Green, and raised in California since the age of three.[4]

Athletic career[edit]

Green was asked by the Fremont High School (Sunnyvale, CA) coaching staff to try out for the sport of track and field, based upon observations made in a physical education weightlifting class. A discus thrower for two years in high school who failed to qualify for the California state meet, he was recruited by renowned throwing coach Art Venegas near the beginning of his career. Venegas would later develop 33 national champions in 28 years as assistant and head coach at UCLA, a record never approached by any other university.[5] Encouragement to try the hammer throw as a college freshman resulted in an NCAA All American designation and an AAU National Junior Champion title in 1979 in just five months with the event, and a ranking of third in the United States at the senior level three years later in 1982.[6]

He placed tenth at the 1980 United States Olympic Trials. Competing collegiately, he was in the top five hammer throwers at the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship from 1981 to 1983. He had his first podium finish at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1982, but fell back to fourth in 1983. He won his first national title at the 1986 USA Outdoor Championships, and was runner-up in 1987.

Green competed at the height of hammer throw performance historically, a time when the event was dominated by the Eastern Bloc communist sports system.[7][8] Technical advancements in the hammer throw pioneered by the Soviet Union in the late 1970s were increasing distances at a furious pace by the early 1980s and the complex biomechanics of these changes, which evolved the hammer throw from a strength event to a focus on speed, were not well understood in other parts of the world.[9] Based on 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, Green and Venegas believed they could adopt the new technical changes and reestablish the United States as a viable competitor internationally after more than 25 years with no Americans on the Olympic podium. In 1983 and 1984 he set three American Collegiate Records, three United States National Records,[10] and, after winning the American Olympic trials, he placed fifth at the 1984 Olympic Games. He is one of only three Americans since 1952 to place in the top six in Olympic competition,[11] and his performance in Los Angeles established a prelude to the country's first Olympic medal in 40 years with Lance Deal's second place finish in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Endorsements and media appearances[edit]

He appeared in television shows, commercials, print advertisements and did product endorsement for such companies as Eastman Kodak, The Hershey Company (Care Free gum), the Ford Motor Company, Mazda, Seafirst Bank, Mizuno Corp., and Nike, Inc.[citation needed] Green also worked as a consultant on the children's movie "Matilda", advising actress Pam Ferris, whose character in the story Miss Agatha Trunchbull had been an Olympic hammer thrower.[12]

Retirement from athletics[edit]

Green became disillusioned with the lack of support and training resources necessary for an American athlete to challenge in an area of sports dominated by the Eastern Bloc athletic system at the height of its success in the 1980s.[13] This factor, combined with the belief that drug use was required to medal at a second Olympic Games and a limited interest in the event in the United States, eroded his enthusiasm for Track and Field.[14]

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 had won the silver medal.[15] He had tested positive for testosterone with a T/E ratio of 11,2-1.[16] In April 1988 IAAF handed him an eighteen month ban from sports for the anti-doping rule violation.[17]

After a ten month appeal process, according to one of Green's lawyers, under threat of litigation for violating American due process rights the general secretary of International Association of Athletics Federations allowed him to compete in the 1988 United States Olympic Trials.[18] Without sufficient time to prepare given the delays, he did not defend his title at the 1988 Olympic Trials or compete in the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Green retired from track and field in 1987 at age 27.

He was inducted into the Long Beach State Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2001.[19]

Professional career[edit]

Beginning as a trainee at the Century City, California office of international insurance broker Johnson & Higgins, he 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. He served as Vice President of Sales at SCPIE until 2006, and later held the same title at The Doctors Company in Napa, California. He has been Director of Marketing for the Medical Insurance Exchange of California (MIEC) in Oakland, California since 2010.[20]

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1983 Universiade Edmonton, Canada 4th Hammer throw
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 5th Hammer throw
1987 Pan American Games Indianapolis, United States 2nd DQ Hammer throw

National titles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
Jud Logan
United States National Record
May 15, 1984 — July 15, 1984 10:00 AM
Succeeded by
Dave McKenzie
Preceded by
Dave McKenzie
United States National Record
July 15, 1984 3:00 PM— April 28, 1985
Succeeded by
Jud Logan
Preceded by
Al Schoterman
American Collegiate Record
February 28, 1982 — June 7, 1985
Succeeded by
Ken Flax
Preceded by
David Fuller
Long Beach State School Record
February 28, 1981 — Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent