Although his records have now been surpassed, Parry O'Brien is, by the standards of his contemporaries, the greatest shotputter of all time. Indoors and outdoors he won a total of 17 AAU titles and between July 1952 and June 1956 he ran up a winning streak of 116 consecutive victories. He broke the world record 17 times, although only 10 of these were ratified, and he was the first man to beat the 18-meter, 60-foot, and 19-meter barriers. O'Brien set his last world record in 1959, with 63-4 (19.30), but he continued to improve and set a career best of 64-7¼ (19.69) in 1966, two years after his final Olympic appearance in Tokyo, where he placed fourth. O'Brien was Pan American Games champion in 1955 and 1959 and, while at Southern Cal, he won the NCAA title in 1952 and 1953. He also added the 1955 AAU discus championship. In discus throw he also won two medal at the Pan American Games - silver in 1955 and bronze in 1959. Apart from his multiple victories and records, Parry O'Brien made a significant contribution to the sport by pioneering a new style which was copied by many of those who followed him as world record holders. He later worked in the banking and real estate business in Southern California.
Personal Bests: SP – 64-7¼ (19.69) (1966); DT – 196-10 (59.99) (1965).
Athlete Olympic Results Content