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Harold Connolly
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    (August 1, 1931-August 18, 2010)
    Born in Somerville, Massachusetts
    Won a gold medal in the hammer throw at the Melbourne Olympics (1956)
    Held the world's record in the hammer throw for nine years (1959-65)
    Named to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame (1984)
    He wore ballet slippers for the hammer throw.
    Self-conscious about his withered left arm, when photographers asked him to raise his arms in triumph after winning his gold medal, he lifted only his right arm.
    He told a Senate subcommittee investigating steroid use in sports, 'For eight years [1964-72] I would have to refer to myself as a hooked athlete.'
    Discussing his exercise regime with a New York Times reporter, he said, 'I'd rather die on the bike than sitting around,' then a year later fainted while working out on his exercise bike and suffered a fatal head injury when he hit the floor.
    He suffered severe nerve damage to his left arm during birth, then fractured it thirteen times as a child, leaving his left arm four and a half inches shorter than his right.
    He was six feet tall and weighed 235 pounds during his competitive years: You want to make a crack to him about the ballet shoes?
    At one point, he was responsible for the eight longest hammer throws of all time.
    He competed at a time when steroids were still legal.
    His romance with gold medal winning Czech discus thrower Olga Fikotova became a Cold War cause celebre, requiring assistance from the US State Department and a personal appeal to the president of Czechoslovakia before they could wed.
    His and Olga's son Jim became a NCAA decathlon champion (1987).
    He was a teacher and assistant principal in the Santa Monica school system and an executive director for the Special Olympics.

Credit: C. Fishel

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