Discus Champ Al Oerter Is Dead

The first track athlete to win 4 straight Olympic gold medals was 71
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2007 8:23 AM CDT
This Nov. 18, 1999 photo released by Neuper & Team shows four-time olympic golf medal discus thrower Al Oerter giving a thumbs up as he arrives at the airport in Vienna, Austria, for the World Sports...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Alfred Oerter, Jr., who overcame terrific odds to win the discus gold in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968, died yesterday in Fort Meyers, Florida, of either a heart attack or a blood clot. The 71-year-old had continued competing well into his sixth decade, despite life-long high blood pressure and later heart problems, reports the New York Times.

Oerter, who entered each Olympics either injured or an underdog and left with a new record, was described by a contemporary as "the greatest field-event athlete of the century." The humble discus star brushed off his own accomplishments, which included breaking six world records, and balanced sports with work as a computer executive, artist, and motivational speaker.