Raold Bradstock in his colorful, hand-painted uniform at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Only three things, according to Roald Bradstock, will keep him from his goal of advancing beyond qualifying rounds for the 2012 London Olympic Games: “I’m short, slow and old.”
Never one to shirk a challenge, though, the United States Sports Academy 2003 Sport Artist of the Year took a major step recently to overcoming those obstacles and realizing his dreams of competing in the javelin throw at the 2012 Olympic Games in London—at the age of 50.
Bradstock qualified May 19 for the Great Britain Olympic Trials, which will be his eighth Olympic trials in the javelin in his career. Bradstock qualified by setting the world age record for 49-year-olds with a javelin throw of 74.3 meters, or 245 feet and 1.5 inches at the Tucson, Arizona, Elite Throwers Classic.
Bradstock, who maintains a stringent athletic training schedule, moved up to the No. 3 ranking currently in Great Britain with the throw, which was also his longest in 11 years. Interestingly, his throw came on the 25th anniversary of his first World Javelin Record that he set at the same meet when he threw 81.74 meters or 268 feet, 2 inches.
“I was hoping for 100-degrees plus and a huge wind to help me throw further,” Bradstock said jokingly. “Unfortunately, I got neither. It was 70 degrees with a very slight breeze. I knew my really, really big throw was coming.”
Combining hard work with a healthy sense of humor, Bradstock represented Great Britain in the Olympics in 1984 and 1988. In 1992, he was an alternate for the team and in 1996 he was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team after Bradstock became an American citizen in 1995. He competed in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic trials and reverted to his British citizenship to make his highly public bid for the 2012 Olympics.
In 2008, Bradstock was the oldest competitor at the U.S. Olympic trials and received international media attention not for his age but for the three brightly colored, hand-painted uniforms and matching javelins he used. He has earned acclaim, too, for his many Guiness Book of World Record attempts for throwing everything from fish to golf balls.
Plus, he’s widely known for his public support of the Olympic Games through his art. He earned the nickname, “The Olympic Picasso,” for his visionary ideas on how to combine sport and art with the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. The painter, whose work has been exhibited worldwide, was named the Academy’s 2003 Artist of Year in recognition of his unique, award winning-style of art called “athletic abstraction.”
“It is amazing how my painted outfits and throwing antics have become so well known,” Bradstock said. “The Internet and media opportunities I have gotten over the past few years to promote my art have turned out to be a powerful mix.”