The Later Years
Although he had hoped to win five consecutive gold medals for discus Oerter decided to retire after the 1968 Olympics. Injuries were taking their toll on him, and at that time track and field was far less lucrative. Oerter earned his living as a computer engineer. In 1976 Oerter had a change of heart, he came out of retirement and began training for the 1980 Olympics. He freely admitted that that year (1976), he tried steroids to bulk up but quickly gave up on the experiment when his blood pressure rose too high. He afterward became a vocal opponent of steroids and drugs. In 1976 Oerter set his own personal record discus throw of 227 feet, 103/4 inches. In 1980 the 44-year-old Oerter finished fourth in the Olympic trials, but the United States boycotted the summer Olympics that year (held in Moscow), so it was all a moot point.
In 1996 Oerter was further honored for his Olympic feats as the final torch bearer in Atlanta.
Oerter continued to compete until the mid-1980s, long after his legacy as one of the great discus throwers of all time was secured, courtesy of his four Olympic gold medals and his four world records. In addition, there was the Pan-American championship and the five U.S. records that he held. In 1974 Oerter was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame and in 1983 he was inducted in the Olympic Hall of Fame.
- Al Oerter - Related Biography: Coach Bill Easton
- Al Oerter - Pain And Triumph
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