After his gold medal, Connolly competed in three more Olympics, finishing eighth in 1960, sixth in 1964 and not qualifying for the final in 1968. In 1972, he finished fifth in the United States trials and failed to make the team.
Notably, Connolly sustained severe nerve damage to his left arm during birth, prohibiting the limb from ever developing properly. He fractured it 13 times as a child. His left arm grew to be four and a half inches shorter than his right and his left hand two-thirds the size of his right. The New York Times noted, "When he won his Olympic gold medal, photographers yelled at him to raise his arms in triumph. He lifted only his right arm."
Connolly received his undergraduate degree from Boston College in 1952 and attended graduate school at UCLA. Both during and after his athletic career, Connolly worked as a teacher in the Santa Monica school system. In 1988, he then retired and accepted a position as an executive director of Special Olympics, where he would serve for the next 11 years. Until his death, he coached youth athletes and served as the Junior Hammer Development Chairmen for US Track and Field Association. He was one of the leading promoters for the next generation of hammer throwers. He also published a website to help promote the hammer throw, Hammerthrow.org.
During the 1956 Games, Connolly began a relationship with Czechdiscus throwerOlga Fikotova, a fellow gold medal winner. They married after the Olympics, the following year in Prague—in three ceremonies there, with a celebration before 40,000 well-wishers. They were divorced in 1974, and the following year, he married Pat Winslow, a former coach of track star Evelyn Ashford and herself a three-time Olympian in the 800 meters and pentathlon.
A son from his first marriage, Jim Connolly, was the NCAAdecathlon champion for U.C.L.A. in 1987; Adam Connolly, a son from his second marriage, was America’s third-ranked hammer thrower in 1999.