Adam Nelson

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Adam Nelson
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Adam Nelson After Rightful Gold Ceremony

on June 23, 2013

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In a long and brilliant career, Adam Nelson has qualified for a total of five World Outdoor Championship teams and earned seven world and Olympic medals. His first (2000) and most recent (2011) USA Outdoor titles have spanned 11 years. Some of the more successful seasons for Nelson came while working toward his MBA at the University of Virginia, while helping coach and splitting time reporting part-time for three Charlottesville TV stations. After a total of four World Championships and Olympic silver medals, Nelson finally got over that hump by winning gold at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships. Nelson joins five other American shot putters that have competed in three Olympic Games (Ralph Rose, George Woods, John Godina and Parry O’Brien, who is the only four-timer). He goes for his fourth Olympic team in 2012. For the outdoor World Championships, only Godina has competed in six; Nelson five. 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. 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’ before earning his degree in government. Nelson has become well known for his pre-shot put 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 married on Mar 13, 2004, to Lacy. The couple have two daughters.

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  • 3-time Olympian, 2-time Olympic Silver Medalist, 2005 World Champion, 3-time World Championship Silver Medalist