John Powell (athlete)

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John Powell
Personal information
Born June 25, 1947
San Francisco, California

John Gates Powell (born June 25, 1947) is an American track and field athlete, specifically, a discus thrower. Powell set the world record distance of 69.08 meters in 1975. His personal best throw was achieved in 1984 at 71.26 meters. That places him tied for ninth in the all-time performers list. Powell was born in San Francisco, California.

Powell was a four-time member of the American Olympic Team. Powell finished in fourth place at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, won a bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, and was a member of the American Olympic Team in 1980 which boycotted the games. Once again, 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 wright-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 weekly.


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

External links

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