|'Shot Heard Round The World|
by Harry Cummins
Some will remember Michael Carter as an All-Pro NFL nose tackle who won 3 Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Others will attach the name to seven NCAA shot put titles at SMU and an Olympic Silver Medal in Los Angeles in 1984.
This week, however, marks the 40th anniversary of perhaps Michael Carter's most enduring legacy, a singular feat largely forgotten by most sports fans.
It was four decades ago that Carter stepped into the shot ring in Sacramento, California, for his final throw as a high school senior competing in the Golden West Invitational. The national prep record for the 12 pound ball stood at 77 feet, set by Carter himself a month earlier.
Carter, using a now obsolete 'glide' technique across the circle, unleashed the greatest throw in high school history, sending the heavy metal ball soaring to a distance of 81 feet, three-and-a-half inches, breaking his own record by over FOUR FEET!
In the 40 years that have passed since Carter's record toss, no one has come within 4 feet of that historic heave. In 2011, Ryan Crouser from Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon, threw 77 feet 2.75 inches at an indoor meet in Idaho. Crouser, at 6'8" and 320 lbs, would later go on to become the 2016 Olympic champion.
Carter, who stood 6'2" and weighed 245 pounds in high school, was not an imposing figure by modern shot standards. For 40 years and still counting, his record, however, may be the most imposing in all of prep track and field. Outside the rarely run 10,000 meters, it is the oldest high school record on the books, male or female.
The Carter name still reverberates today thru the exploits of his oldest daughter, Michelle. You may recognize the name Michelle Carter. She is the reigning Olympic champion and American record holder in the women's shot.
I remember witnessing Michelle Carter win the 2016 World Indoor Championships at the Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Even an avid track fan like myself had forgotten 1979 and the astonishing accomplishments of her largely self-taught, self coached father.
Happy 40th Michael! Will anyone ever again perfectly marry strength and technique to soar pass your enduring mark?
It would be a long-shot!
The current 2019 high school leader in the shot put is Daniel Viveros of Liberty High School in Bakersfield, Ca. He has a leading mark of 71 feet, 3 inches.