2003 Sport Artist of the Year and Olympian Roald Bradstock Named Executive Director of Art of the Olympians


Two-time Olympian Roald Bradstock blends sport and art by competing in colorful suits that he paints by hand.

United States Sports Academy 2003 Sport Artist of the Year Roald Bradstock of Atlanta, a two-time Olympian in javelin, has been appointed executive director of Art of the Olympians (AOTO).

The announcement, made recently by Al Oerter Foundation (AOF) President and CEO Cathy Oerter, completes a restructuring by the parent foundation of AOTO responsibilities. The AOF honors the late legendary discus thrower, Al Oerter, the first person in history to win gold medals in four different Olympic Games: 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968.

“I’m thrilled to have Roald join our team as AOTO executive director,” she said. “He was a founding member of AOTO and fully understands the goal that we wish to attain.”

The AOF funds programs that meet and foster its mission of developing art, education, sport and cultural outreach programming to inspire individuals — particularly youth and their communities — to uphold and promote excellence and the highest ethics of humanity.

Until two years ago, AOTO maintained an exhibition hall and offices in Fort Myers, Fla. The appointment of Bradstock moves the 10-year-old organization into a new chapter, as it has gone from a single location to a virtual and mobile platform. Bradstock said this allows AOTO to better connect and communicate with a global audience. AOTO has redesigned its website (www.artoftheolympians.org) to allow programs to flourish.

“We have become the international program of Olympic and Paralympic artists teaching Olympic values and ideals through, exhibitions, education programs and cultural activities,” Bradstock said.

en garde

“En guard,” by Roald Bradstock

“The world has gone virtual and mobile,” Bradstock said. “I believe by getting media exposure and using social media we can create museums and galleries without walls that are accessible to millions and billions, not hundreds and thousands. We can and should create organizations of Olympian artists and sport artists who can interact with each other and at the same time promote a cause.

“To really become a massive force, AOTO will be forming partnerships and collaborations with other organizations to get the word out about sport and art and the importance of both in our lives.”

Bradstock said AOTO currently has numerous Olympians and Paralympians on their roster, with artistic abilities ranging from award-winning professionals to part-time hobbyists.

“We’ve got painters, sculptors, dancers, photographers, performance artists, musicians, poets, video and film makers and other artists who use mediums that can help meet our goal of teaching the youth of the world how these forms of expression are so similar to those of sports,” he said.

Bradstock is already using his new position to increase visibility for the relationship between art and sport. He recently conducted a feature interview on the topic with the Cable News Network (CNN) that will be used on air and on the CNN website.


“Jackie Joyner-Kersee,” by Roald Bradstock

Bradstock, nicknamed the “Olympic Picasso” by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) because of his ideas of connecting sport and art, is a professional artist with a distinguished career of international competition in javelin. He represented Great Britain at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. Bradstock said that in 1986 he set a world record by throwing a “new rule” javelin 81.74 meters. He has also dedicated his talents to painting and has won many Olympic art competitions.

In 2003, Bradstock was honored as Sport Artist of the Year, painter, by the United States Sports Academy for his unique art style that promotes athletics and for his efforts to unify the Olympics and Paralympics.

“When I won the Sports Artist of the Year in 2003 I was overjoyed,” Bradstock said. “I was an ‘Olympic artist’ because of the Academy and am now recognized internationally as a serious sport artist because of the Academy.”

“My relationship with the Academy has remained strong. It is so in line with my thinking, my passion and my goals. I want to connect sport and art.”

Born in 1962 in Hertford Heath, England, Bradstock began drawing and painting as a child. Also pursuing his passion for sports, Bradstock ranked number two in the World Junior Division for the javelin throw in 1981. This victory gained him an athletic scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He earned All-American awards in 1982, 1983, and 1984, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors.

Famous for his sense of humor in the service of sports, Bradstock has engaged in demonstrations of throwing various objects other than the javelin, such as golf balls, iPods, phones, and even fish, to increase awareness of athletics and especially of the Olympics.

“The principle is to promote athletics through imagery, which transcends language and cultures,” he said.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

The Academy is home to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA). Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Visit the website at www.asama.org.