: Shot Put
: 22.51m/73-10.25 (2002)
: 1975, in Atlanta, Ga.
: Charlottesville, Va.
: Lovett HS (Atlanta, Ga.) ‘93
: Dartmouth ‘97
: Don Babbitt
: Paul Doyle
Career Highlights: 2-time Olympic silver medalist ('00, '04); 2-time Olympic Trials champion ('00, '04); 2005 World Outdoor champion; 3-time World Outdoor silver medalist ('01, '02, '07); 2001 World Indoor silver medalist; 4-time USA Outdoor champion (‘00, '02, '04, ‘06); 2-time USA Indoor champion ('01, '02); 2005 USA Outdoor Champs runner-up; 2001 Goodwill Games gold medalist; 1997 NCAA champ; 1994 World Junior gold medalist
Nelson enjoyed another banner season in 2007 highlighted by a silver medal at the World Outdoor Championships and ending the season ranked #2 in the world. All of this was achieved despite juggling his own training schedule in addition to his first year as an MBA student in the fall of 2006 at Virginia, helping coach at UVA and reporting part-time for three Charlottesville TV stations. Nelson hungered for years to win a major outdoor shot put title, having previously won silver medals at two Olympic Games and two World Outdoor Championships. In 2005, it finally happened. On his very first throw in the final at the World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki in a cold, summer rain, Nelson threw 21.73m/71-3.50. That throw held up as the best in the competition and Nelson finally had his hard-earned major outdoor championships gold medal. Earlier in 2005, Nelson, who did not have a sponsor at the time, offered his services on eBay to prospective sponsors and signed a one-month, $12,000 deal with MedivoxRX Technologies to advertise Rex--the Talking Bottle, an aid for the blind and for senior citizens who have difficulty reading labels. Nelson won his second career Olympic silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia, Greece. Sixth in the throwing order at the 2004 Olympics, Nelson opened with a throw of 21.16m/69-5.25. It was to be his only legal throw of the event, and would hold up as the first-place throw until the end of the competition. As Nelson waited for his own final toss, 2002 European champion Yuriy Bilonog of the Ukraine matched Nelson with a throw of 21.16m/69-5.25, which put him in the lead because his second-best throw was better than Nelson's (who had no legal second mark). Nelson stepped into the ring for his final attempt and unleashed what looked to be a possible winning throw, only to have it declared foul... His throw of 72-7 on his final attempt at the U.S. Olympic Trials made him the ninth-best performer in history and helped give him a #1 year-end ranking. It was the longest throw in the world in 10 years. Afterwards he said: "I love it. I'm a big meet thrower...Even in junior meets, I always stepped up to the next level. Whenever there's a lot of pressure to perform, I'll be there." Nelson improved his PR to 22.51m/73-10.25 on May 18, 2002 at the adidas Oregon Track Classic in Portland...he suffered a torn pectoral muscle in September of 1999 while bench-pressing. He then changed training methods to include more work on strengthening his mid-section and doing plyometrics, something he credits for his marked improvement. After training in Northern California, Nelson moved to New York City for a time in late 2000 and early 2001, but then returned briefly to California before relocating later in 2001 to Athens, Ga. Nelson's life in NYC included acting lessons in addition to his shot put training...Nelson comes from an athletic family. His father played center for the Mississippi State football team, his brother played rugby, and his sister starred in soccer for Dartmouth. Originally a football player, Nelson was asked to come out for track in 8th grade by his coach, who handled both track and football: ‘I was the worst 8th-grade shot putter in our group, but I stuck with it, and it paid off.' Nelson played football all through high school and college. He started out as a linebacker at Dartmouth, and finished up as a defensive tackle: ‘As my butt got bigger they moved me up closer to the line'...earned his degree in government...has become well known for his pre-shot routine of marching in front of the competition circle and yelling for the crowd to cheer him on before stripping off his t-shirt and storming into the circle for his attempt. He recently told Track & Field News: "I've always walked into the landing area and then gone into the ring. It's all part of visualization. Everybody has their own little routine to get mentally focused for each throw. Sure, it draws the attention of the crowd; the fans can see who we are out there. But the main reason I do it is more personal than that. It's part of my preparation phase."...got married on March 13, 2004, to Lacy, the couple are expecting their first child this fall.
2008: 1st at Tyson Invite with #3 indoor throw all-time (22.40m/73-6) 1st at Millrose Games (22.07m/72-5)...Indoor Visa Champion...3rd at USA Indoors (21.25m/69-8.75)
2007: World Outdoor runner-up (21.61m/70-10.75)...3rd at USA Outdoor Championships (20.54m/67-4.75)...2nd at adidas Track Classic (21.47m/70-5.25)...6th at Madrid (20.28m/66-6.5)...ranked #2 in the world & U.S. by T&FN...best of 21.61m/70-10.75.
2006: USA Outdoor champion (22.04m/72-3.75)...4th at USA Indoor (20.30m/66-7.25)...1st at Dakar (21.28m/69-9.75)...2nd at Nike Prefontaine Classic (21.44m/70-4.25)...ranked #6 in world, #3 U.S. by T&FN...best of 72-3.75.
2005: 1st at World Outdoor Champs (21.73m/71-3.5)...2nd at USA Outdoor Champs (21.52m70-7.25)...1st at World Athletics Final (21.92m/71-11)...1st at Reebok Grand Prix (21.58m/70-9.75)...4th at adidas Track Classic (20.55m/67-5.25)...3rd at USA Indoors (21:59m/70-10)...1st Reebok Boston Indoor Games (21.66m/71-0.75)...ranked #1 in the world by T&FN...best of 21.92m/71-11.
2004: 1st at Olympic Trials shot put (21.64m/71-0)...Olympic silver medalist (21.16m/69-5.25)... 3rd at Verizon Millrose Games (19.81m/65-0)...2nd at Nike Prefontaine Classic (21.50m/70-6.5)...2nd at Adidas Oregon (21.68m/71-1.5)...2nd at Payton Jordan US Open (20.91m/68-7.25)...4th at Home Depot (20.72m/67-11.75)...ranked #2 in world (#2 U.S.) by T&FN...best of 21.68m/71-1.5.