John Powell (athlete)

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John Powell
John Powell discus 1972.jpg
Powell in 1972
Personal information
Born June 25, 1947 (1947-06-25) (age 71)
San Francisco, California, U.S.[1]
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 110 kg (243 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Discus throw, shot put, hammer throw
Club Bud Light Track America
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) DT – 71.26 m (1984)
SP – 17.09 m (1976)
HT – 58.49 m (1984)[1]

John Gates Powell (born June 25, 1947) is an American track and field athlete who specialized in the discus throw. He set a world record at 69.08 meters in 1975, and his personal best of 71.26 meters ties him for ninth place in the all-time performers list.[2]


Powell was a four-time member of the American Olympic Team. Powell finished fourth at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, won a bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal,[1] and was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team which did not compete in Russia due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott. He did however receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.[3] He won the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.


Some track and field competitions in 1987 appear to have been Powell's last ones on the international level – and then he was banished from high-level competitions after taking part in a forbidden track and field tour to apartheid-era South Africa. Powell still runs several annual weight-throwing camps with his fellow Olympian weight throwers. Powell also still "teaches" a few of his young champion-level throwers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, nearly every week.


Powell is a seven time US-champion in Discus throw in 1974, 1975, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "John Powell". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2009-04-20. 
  2. ^ John Powell.
  3. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry. Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403. 
Preceded by
South Africa John van Reenen
Men's Discus World Record Holder
May 3, 1975 – April 24, 1976
Succeeded by
United States Mac Wilkins