Don't Forget Earlene Brown

We’re going to take a look at one of America’s greatest and most forgotten competitors – Earlene Brown. She is the greatest American women’s thrower of the 20th century.

Four years ago, Michelle Carter won the women’s shot put title at the Rio Olympics. She was the first American woman to win gold in that event at the Olympics. She was the first medalist since Brown in 1960. Brown is the only other woman to have won an Olympic shot put medal beside Carter.

In 1958, Brown finished the year ranked No. 1 in the world in the shot put. The only other American woman to do that is Carter.

She went on to win her bronze in the discus and finished 6th in the discus at the 1960 Olympics. Four years later, she finished 12th in the shot put at the 1964 Games. She became the first woman to compete in three Olympic shot puts. Not the first American woman but the first woman from anywhere in the world to accomplish the feat.

Then throwing ran its course for Brown…she moved on to another pro sport – roller derby. She stayed in that sport for 11 years.

“When I was young I was ashamed of my size,” she once said. “I never thought something of which I was ashamed — my size and my strength — could make me feel proud. But I am proud now.”⁣

Here’s a 1967 Interview with Brown.

earlene brown track and field history

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Jesse Squire

I was second in the 1980 Olympic* long jump. (*Cub Scout Olympics, Pack 99, 9-10 age group.)