Meet Brian Oldfield- shot put and Highland Games legend, movie star, World’s Strongest Man competitor, and one of the greatest athletes of whom you’ve likely never heard, tragically, because the world is a lame goddamn place these days. The TLDR of his life is pretty amazing though- he made a living out of humiliating people in the gym and on the field, all while generally acting like the greatest thing since sliced bread and having a account balance of exactly zero fucks given.
This is literally what he wore to compete in the Olympic trials.
“WHEN GOD INVENTED MAN, HE WANTED HIM TO LOOK LIKE ME.”
Picture this- it’s the early 1970s, a random, gigantic, jacked, tan, blond haired guy in his late twenties, looking like a freakish amalgamation of Cali surfer and NFL defensive lineman, rolls up to a local track and field meet smoking a cigarette and smelling like stripper perfume. He changes, and 5 minutes later sets an unofficial world record in the shot put, wearing bikini trunks and a fish net tank top, and using a technique later named after him because the man was not only freakishly strong and cocky as hell, but an innovator. The world had never heard the name Brian Oldfield prior to that point, but it was about to bear a red mark from his mushroom slap on its forehead for a few years, whether it liked it or not. And it’s safe to say that it did not.
Brian Oldfield Vital Statistics
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 280lbs Clean and Jerk: 365lbs Bench Press: 400lbs Front Squat: 465lbs x 3 Push Press: 450lbs x 3 reps He was also alleged to have done 600 x 10 on the front squat and 600 x 25 on the back, but that is likely him talking drunken nonsense.
Some pertinent (but far from the most amazing) facts about Brian Oldfield:
- He beat Lou Ferrigno in a weightlifting competition in a 1976 Superstars competition with a jerk of 310. Nothing monumental, but it was enough to chump the Incredible Hulk on national TV.
- He sparred with Muhummad Ali on the Tonight Show.
- He competed in the 1972 Olympics (though he placed a disappointing 6th).
- He set three world records in the shotput. Two unofficial (70′ 10 1/2″ in 1973) and (75 feet in 1975) and one official throw of 70+ at age 40, which still stands as a record for his age group (he was a late bloomer and didn’t start competing until he was 27).
- He took 7th in the 1978 World’s Strongest Man, besting the superhumanly strong WWE star Ivan Putsky, NFL lineman John Matusek, and champion puller (arm wrestler) Jack Wright.
- Two of his Highland Games records, the WR in the light Open Stone (17lbs), with a mark of 63’1″, and the WR in the heavy Open Stone (25lbs), with a mark of 46’5″, still stand 40 years after he set them.
- At 6’5″ and 280lbs, Oldfield high jumped 6′ 6″; ran the 100M in 10.5; ran the 40 yard dash in 4.3 seconds (the fastest DT in the 2019 Combine ran a 4.87); and could dunk a 16-pound shotput.
He also holds a record in the light stone in the Highland Games to this day.
That’s all well and good, but frankly, I could give a rat’s ass about how far he could throw a stone ball. As a general rule, hat shit really only matters to guys who played offensive line in high school and who now sport fat guts and Tazmanian Devil tattoos. I’m neither, however, so his shot put numbers mean about as much to me as the speed at which he typed, at which I’d imagine the sonofabitch was even good at in his prime, because he was so good at everything that some pundits referred to him as the greatest athlete of the 20th Century (Houde).
What makes Oldfield interesting is the fact that he appears to have been awesome at everything, was a strength athlete who was pretty goddamned lean at 280+, and who was essentially the strength athlete cognate for Nikola Tesla, an innovator who left a badass legacy although he was screwed hard by circumstance and denied the respect he deserved at his prime.
“BRIAN OLDFIELD PUT THE SHOT 75-FEET -INCH IN A MEET AT EL PASO IN MAY OF 1975. THAT DIDN’T BREAK THE EXISTING WORLD RECORD, IT OBLITERATED IT. UNFORTUNATELY, BRIAN WAS COMPETING FOR SOMETHING CALLED THE INTERNATIONAL TRACK ASSN. AT THE TIME. IT WAS, YOU SHOULD PARDON THE EXPRESSION, A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION, IT–COME CLOSER, YOU WOULDN’T WANT THE KIDS TO HEAR THIS–PAID ITS ATHLETES. WHAT THE ITA DID WAS CHARGE ADMISSION TO ITS TRACK MEETS AND DISTRIBUTED THE PROCEEDS AMONG THE COMPETITORS. IF YOU CAN’T SEE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THAT AND WHAT TAC OR THE NCAA, FOR ALL OF THAT, DOES, GO TO THE HEAD OF THE CLASS. THE DIFFERENCE IS THE ITA DID IT OPENLY. THEY SUBTRACTED THE HYPOCRISY. THIS, OF COURSE, WAS UNFORGIVABLE TO THE REIGNING ‘AMATEUR’ ASSOCIATIONS. SOMEBODY HAD TO PAY. AND BRIAN WAS AS GOOD A CANDIDATE AS ANY. ‘SAY,’ SOMEONE SAID AT A FEDERATION MEETING, “DIDN’T HE SMOKE ON THE FIELD AT THE OLYMPICS ONCE?’ SO, BRIAN’S RECORD THROW, WHICH WAS MADE UNDER ALLOWABLE CONDITIONS, SCRUPULOUSLY MEASURED AND CALIBRATED, WAS NOT ONLY DISALLOWED, IT WAS IGNORED. IT NEVER HAPPENED. TRACK AND FIELD, WHICH FALLS ALL OVER ITSELF CERTIFYING SOME MYSTERIOUS MARK SET IN THE BOWELS OF SIBERIA BY A SOVIET VAULTER NOBODY EVER HEARD OF, BEFORE AN AUDIENCE OF TWO KGB COLONELS AND A GUY IN A FUR HAT, THREW OLDFIELD’S RECORD AS FAR AS IT WOULD GO. IT WAS NOT QUITE FAR ENOUGH. IT MADE THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS, ALBEIT IN THE–HA, HA–SECTION RIGHT BY THE GOLDFISH SWALLOWING AND THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO COULD PACK INTO A VOLKSWAGEN. IN THE WEIRD HALF-LIFE OF AMATEUR ATHLETICS, BRIAN WAS ELIGIBLE DOMESTICALLY BUT NOT INTERNATIONALLY. SO, HE DROPPED OVER TO A MEET IN SAN JOSE IN 1983 AND CASUALLY TOSSED A NEW AMERICAN RECORD OF 72-FEET 9 3/4-INCHES, ONLY ONE INCH SHORT OF THE WORLD RECORD. BRIAN OLDFIELD WILL BE HIGHLY VISIBLE AT THE SHOTPUT RING AT THE ARCO COLISEUM TRACK MEET NEXT SATURDAY. HE’LL BE THE ONE SMOKING” (MURRAY)
So, Oldfield got screwed in about every way he possibly could have been, despite the fact that he was for all intents and purposes the Chuck Norris of track and field. But how Chuck Norris-ey was he, you ask?
- HE BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF A BEAR WITH HIS BARE HANDS. “The minute I got into the ring Little Smokey knew he was in trouble. He was looking over at the crowd thinking this would be easy meat, and here I came. Well, the bear threw me a forearm in the neck, which made me mad right away. I picked him up and threw him through the ropes. Now the bear wanted no part of me, but I jumped on him and beat him backward. I was going to wishbone the SOB and break his sternum in half, but his handlers must have realized my adrenaline was flowing. They came in and took the bear away” (I can’t find the source now, but think it was in one of these articles)
- Oldfield was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Playgirl in the same goddamned year.
- He starred in a Troma movie (and if you don’t know what Troma is, you seriously need to educate yourself), in which he starred as some jacked guy who ran around and headbutted people to death while rocking a spiked headband. If that’s not enough awesomely cheesy suck for a film about some suburban broad who battles backwoods drug smugglers in a post-apocalyptic jungle, the tagline for the film is: “Born to shop, she learned to kill!”
- He outraced a top female sprinter in the 60 yard dash, and then threw her over his shoulder like a rag doll and kept running.
- He broke a guy’s upper and lower jaw with one punch… with his left hand (Oldfield was right-handed).
- He coined the phrase “I just had a throwgasm” on national TV.
- In another race against a chick sprinter, he smoked her for 70 yards, then turned and ran backwards for the last 30, mocking her gender the entire way (and given the story of the man’s life, it’s a near certainty he was inside of her within an hour).
“ROCK STARS HAD DESIGNER GROUPIES. OUR WOMEN JUST SHOWED UP TO PARTY.”
After getting the high hard one from the powers that be in track and field, Oldfield moved to the Highland Games, which he apparently dominated like he was the goddamned Cobra Commander. Utilizing his eponymous shot put technique, Oldfield was able to set a record in the stone put that remains nearly 40 years after he set it- 63’1″ in the light stone. In fact, Oldfield was so good at everything and so hypercompetitive that he even went toe to toe with Muhammad Ali on the Tonight Show and rolled with ultra-mega-superstar wrestler Verne Gagne. In fact, his dickish insistence on dominating everyone at everything even extended to the “sport” of bowling, where he picked up a spare while bowling with a move where he chucked the ball one-handed between his legs… one more “eff you” to the athletes of a sport who he could beat while acting like a total dick and demeaning their sport entirely.
“I FEEL AS IF I’M AN ARTIST. WHEN I SPIN, I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT MY LIFE-STYLE. I FEEL I CAN CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING TO THE WORLD IN THE SHOTPUT. I’LL NEVER CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING TO THE WORLD IN ANY OTHER SPHERE.”
Though Oldfield would have been a beast of an athlete likely without ever having the inside of the gym, he had the following to say about training:
- Lift twice a week, but do full body, explosive, heavy stuff
- Train with overweight implements
- Take your minerals
- Sprint training or hills is very important
- Become a true student of your event and try to think through every single aspect of what you do
- Discover what foods you are allergic to
- Complicate the movement with drills to simplify it in the ring
- Enjoy yourself… have some fun!
The keys to Oldfield’s success appears to have been massive self-confidence, the desire to fuck, fight, or generally own anything or anyone that crossed his path, and a disdain for the ordinary. Life lessons? You bet your ass, provided you’re like me have nothing but contempt for social conventions, the effete and pointless concept of sportsmanship . Redditors, however, will point to the fact that he struggled in life after falling from fame and died broke and alone. Thus, it seems to be a matter of desire between carving your legend into iron and flesh, or dying in obscurity having never done anything of note and simply having been a horribly unfunny spectator to the lives of others… take your pick.
“NO ONE IS USELESS. THEY CAN ALWAYS SERVE AS A BAD EXAMPLE.”
Sources: Brian Oldfield. Wikipedia. Web. Mar 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Oldfield
Cazeneuve, Brian. Brian Oldfield, Shot-Putter, September 1, 1975. Sports Illustrated. 24 Feb 2003. https://www.si.com/vault/2003/02/24/338388/brian-oldfield-shot-putter-september-1-1975
Houde, George. Brian Oldfield, larger-than-life shot put champion, dies at 71. Chicago Tribune. 6 Mar 2019. Web. 6 Mar 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/ct-brian-oldfield-obituary-20170328-story.html
Marshall, Joe. Hi, do you remember me? Sports Illustrated. 3 Mar 1980. Web. 6 Mar 2019. https://www.si.com/vault/1980/03/03/824431/hi-do-you-remember-me-in-1975-i-put-the-shot-farther-than-anyone-ever-has-but-i-never-made-the-record-books-now-ive-got-a-chance-im-brian-old
Murray, Jim. He took his best shot but saw it go up in smoke. Los Angeles Times. 2 Jun 1985. Web. 6 Mar 2019. http://articles.latimes.com/1985-06-02/sports/sp-15080_1_brian-oldfield
Oldfield, Brian. Training. Brian Oldfield. Web. 6 Mar 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20070704151552/http://www.brianoldfield.com/training.htm
Oldfield, Brian. Biography. Brian Oldfield. Web. 6 Mar 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20071130181955/http://www.brianoldfield.com/biography.htm