To throw or not to throw, that is the question.

And how to throw? That is another question.

And how far to throw? Another good one.

And where to throw? And at whom?

And what to throw?

And how did we begin throwing sticks and stones to break bones?

We are what we are because we learned to throw. Before fire, before agriculture, before beer, we learned to pick up small projectiles and hurl them.

I bring this up because there is a new theory about human throwing that says humans may have started throwing stones as a hunting tactic. Humans were then able to kill and eat animals that provided nutritional protein and fat which led to the growth of early hominid brains.

After 100,000 years or so, the human brain learned how to program the body to throw a baseball 90 miles an hour, a football 60 yards, and a 16-pound shot 75 feet.

I like this theory. I could feel my brain grow as I read about it.

I think it’s safe to state that throwing stones was one of the first human advances in weaponry, with the club and the sharp stick being two others. Throwing stones as a weapon remains popular. The Middle East is a good example, where getting stoned takes on an ancient and much different meaning. They’ve been throwing stones there for thousands of years and still do. There’s probably some Palestinian youths who could try out for a farm club in the U.S. The Chicago Cubs might consider this.

In some places, such as Saudi Arabia, stones are still used to execute people, usually defenseless women accused of some sexual misbehavior or defenseless men accused of misbehaving with them. No lethal injections in that neck of the woods, unless you count the act that resulted in the stoning.

Stones are cheap and readily available in most places. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors so that everyone from children to senior citizens can handle and appreciate them.

Show me someone who doesn’t pick up a stone once in a while just to feel the heft, the gravity, the ancientness of it and I’ll show you someone who is not of this Earth.

It is interesting to note here that the most popular sport in the world – soccer – bans throwing, except when putting the ball into play from out of bounds. It’s a game that levels the playing field for people who can’t throw or don’t like to throw, or think that throwing is just a Neanderthal-like activity and too unsophisticated for modern people.

That’s why I never liked soccer very much. We’re a nation of throwers. We love to throw – baseballs, footballs, basketballs, rocks, snowballs, sticks, mud, the occasional fish. Call me Neanderthal if you want. I prefer Cro-Magnon, but Neanderthal will suit me, too. I’m an equal opportunity theorist.

“Throwing projectiles probably enabled our ancestors to effectively and safely kill big game,” says Neil Roach, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington DC, who led the work while at Harvard University. Eating more calorie-rich meat and fat would have helped early hominids’ brains and bodies to grow, enabling our ancestors to expand into new regions of the world, he suggests.

I don’t know that throwing stones at big game was very safe or effective, but it was no doubt better than trying to kill them by bare hand. I conjecture that early hominids threw stones at small game, such as rabbits or whatever they could find. That would be tough hunting, but I would think eventually you might get good at it and be able to sign an MLB contract.

If you’ve never thrown a fish, you should try it sometime. That’s what started me on the path to a life of throwing. I don’t mean the fish toss you see in the fish markets of the world. I mean the toss where you aim at a person’s head, hoping to slime them. That was when I was a very young hominid at Boy Scout camp, however. I haven’t thrown a fish since.

The mass of the 16-pound shot creates gravity and I was drawn to the event the first time I picked one up. That gravity pulled me out of the little city of Elgin, Illinois and into a much larger orbit around world.

The shot put was my religion, my faith, but it was also a demanding bitch; practice, practice, practice, throw, throw, throw, lift, lift, lift, run, run, run. I tortured myself for the love of the throw.

Remember the next time you pick up a shot, or a football, baseball or whatever, it all started with one tiny throw for man, one giant throw for mankind.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde

Bruce and the Jennder Thing

This Bruce Jenner thing, or this Bruce Jennder thing, if you prefer, I’m not sure what to think of it. I never knew there was a girl inside that he-man body. He never confided in me that there was a glam queen in there yearning to get out. But he did have a high-pitched voice.

He was a great athlete, but also a publicity hound and I think some of the current surgical transformation has the makings of a huge publicity stunt. It’s been quite the public spectacle and I think it proves that the only bad press is no press.

I first met Bruce, now Caitlyn, in 1972. We were in our first Olympics and we hit it off, since we were both publicity hounds and liked to talk about ourselves. He was married to a flight attendant then, a female one, and he wanted to set me up with his wife’s sister. I don’t think it worked out. Big surprise there. I was sort of a maniac back then, but a good kind of maniac.

He and I trained together at times. He was throwing the shot 48 feet as a glider. I tutored him and he added three feet to his throw. I thought he could have thrown farther with the Oldfield Spin, but he doubted that he could do it and so didn’t practice that technique.

Well, when you doubt that you can do something, you just add to your lack of confidence. You give power to your doubts. At the 1972 Olympics, he came in 10th place in the decathlon. After that he vowed to get to the winner’s circle at the next Olympic games and began training eight hours a day every day. He sold insurance at night to support his family and his wife continued to work.

In 1976 at San Jose State I met up with Bruce and Marilyn King, famous U.S. female pentathlete, now a really good motivational speaker. We were dedicated athletes training for the Olympic trials. I may have even quit smoking. I didn’t know it at the moment, but the USOC was not going to let me compete in the Games, ruling that I was a professional athlete for participating in the International Track Association for money. Still bites me in the ass to think of it.

So there we were at the end of a training day, Marilyn and Bruce finished with throwing, jumping, running, and hurdling and me finished with throwing and goofing around. I think we were the last athletes standing and, of course, our natural competitive natures emerged.

Well, I wasn’t completely finished goofing around that day. I had been doing a lot of inversion work back then, hand stand pushups, hanging from chandeliers, that sort of thing. I said to Bruce, “I’ll race you walking on my hands.”

He said, “Sure, sounds like fun.” Or words to that effect.

I said “How far do you want to go?”

He said “Let’s do a hundred yards.”

I thought, “Crap, a hundred yards?! That’s a long way on your hands. You and your big mouth.” So I said, “Yeah, that’s good.”

Then Marilyn came up and said, “I want in on that.”

So we said sure, join the fun.

We lined up on the infield. It was a track and field stadium and an artificial-surface track. It was spring and the weather was good. And the three of us were at the top of our game.

We started off. I was doing pretty well, I thought, because I could do 25 handstand pushups easily. I thought, “I’ve got this in the bag.”

But it’s hard to see your competition when you’re racing on your hands. You can look backwards, but vision to the front and sides is limited. I couldn’t really tell how the race was shaping up, but I think Bruce beat me by a hair. I was glad to get off my hands and back on my feet.

But Marilyn kept going. She not only beat us hands down, so to speak, she took a victory lap around the track. On her hands. That was 400 yards. It was quite a feat, the feat of an Olympian. Obviously she wasn’t worried about breaking a nail.

Deflated, Jenner and I picked up our stuff and started walking off with our tails between our legs. We didn’t say anything. We didn’t even congratulate her. We were too mortified. We walked over to the fence, jumped over and went home.

Jenner went on that year to the Montreal Olympics to win the gold in the decathlon and become a national hero. I believe he was the first American in the games to grab the Stars and Stripes from a spectator and run a victory lap in the stadium. That was a great moment and began a tradition.

King was a five time national champion and world record holder, and two-time pentathlon competitor in the Olympics. I still remember that amazing moment watching her walk on her hands around the track. She should have gotten some sort of medal for that.

Bruce and I haven’t spoken in decades but we still have those memories of being Olympians together. I competed in the Bruce Jenner Classic a number of times. I suppose if we met up today, I’d tell him he’s ruined Father’s Day for everybody. Or maybe that he can secretly go home and dress like a man now. I’d needle him like that. It would be a lot of fun.

Everyone is trying to be politically correct about this, but he always wanted to be an actor and now he’s got a great role to play.  He was considered for the role of Superman, true fact, but it went to Christopher Reeve. In 1977, he became spokesman for Wheaties, picture on the box and all that, and is still associated with General Mills. Here’s what a company spokesman said this year: “Bruce Jenner has been a respected member of Team Wheaties, and Caitlyn Jenner will continue to be.”

That’s the thing about Bruce, now Caitlyn. He/she always seems to land on his spikes. Spike heels, that is. And when your net worth is $100 million, you can pretty much do anything your Olympic heart desires.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde

The Bull Fighter

I don’t know about yours, but my life has been pretty crazy. I didn’t plan to have a crazy life, it just turned out that way.

I’ve ended up in some amazing situations, some absurd ones and some awful ones. I’ve lived an extraordinary life, but it was totally unplanned. I just fell through a lot of cracks and crevices and somehow survived.

I did have one plan. That was to have fun and enjoy life. Otherwise, life can be meaningless and painful. Fill it up with as much enjoyment as you can.

Who would have ever thought I would become an international sports celebrity, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, featured in Playgirl, guest on the Tonight Show and defendant in several petty criminal cases? Not to mention I was kicked out of several countries, chased by cops, and plaintiff in a protracted legal battle with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

But one of the most absurd things that happened was the plan to become a matador. It was not much of a plan, actually. It was an invitation to fight a bull in Mexico. It seemed like a fun idea at the time. I saw myself wearing the traje de luces – the outfit with the tight pants, the stockings, the flashy jacket, and the hat, which is called a montera, by the way. I believe the term “dressed to kill” comes from the matador outfit, no explanation needed.

My other thought on that costume was that I would look like a huge fishing lure out there in the sands of the bullring, waiting to be gored and gutted. The pages of “Death in the Afternoon” flipped through my mind. Blood in the sand, dignity in the dirt, that sort of thing.

But the idea fit in with my theory of living. It would be something I could add to my list. How this bullfighting venture developed is interesting, because it came from the sports editor of the San Jose Mercury News at the time.

We’ll call him Bob. We had developed a rapport and chummed around a bit. He came up with this absolutely crazy idea for me to go to Mexico and fight a bull. Why? I don’t know why. Do you need a reason?

My guess is that he was sitting around drinking beer with some sports writer buddies and they came up with the idea about getting an American to fight a bull. They might have made bets. I think they concluded I was the only one crazy enough to try it. So they wrote my name down on a cocktail napkin and I got the call.

Most sportwriters would never be so daring as to try it themselves. Too much work. Too much risk. Why do it yourself when you can watch others do it and write about how poorly they did it?

This had nothing to do with the shotput or training for it. It had everything do with testing your limits, taking risks and having a good time. So I agreed.

Also, the way it was pitched to me, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It would be a free vacation south of the border. I would make new friends. There would be parties, drinking, women, all the appropriate fun trappings of life by my standards. Of course, I might make an enemy or two, since I couldn’t go anywhere without achieving that, but I never let that stop me.

Bob had contacts in Mexico in the bullfighting business. I don’t know how he came to have those, but he did. He might have written some stories about it or he might have been drunk in some Tijuana bar and met a bullfighter. Bob was not a bull fighter, but he was a good bull shitter. Most sports writers are. It’s a job requirement.

So I was to become a matador. Bob did all of the advance on this and set up a deal with the owner of a hacienda who raised bulls. He had set up a party with the owner of this hacienda and I was going to fight one as a novice.

It was not going to be a big, full size bull. It was going to be a young, smaller bull that they figured I could wave a cape at and then wrestle down to the ground if I had to. I had no idea about the veronica or the picadors or the banderilleros.

We drove down to Tijuana. The hacienda owner had a big party for us and I ended up dancing and flirting with his hot girlfriend – I think her name was Maria Consuelo Isabella Cortez. She was beautiful.

I can’t remember her boyfriend’s name, I can hardly remember the sports editor’s name, but I’ll never forget her. She had long black hair and wore a long skirt, low cut peasant blouse and high heels. We were having more fun than everybody else, so everybody else was watching us, including her boyfriend whose machismo apparently became offended. Let’s call him Pablo.

Once again, my innocent flirtations with a beautiful woman were instantly misunderstood. I wasn’t going to run off with her or try to get her into a closet or lift up her skirt, although those thoughts crossed my mind.

Pablo couldn’t get over how I, Brian Oldfield, the ugly American, had schmoozed his girlfriend. So he ended up calling off the bullfight and kicking us out.

So, there we were without a bull or a bull fight, tossed out on the street like so much basura. Back at the hotel in Tijuana, I pulled out a little weed and lit up. I was still on vacation.

Bob looked at me and said, “Oldfield, you are the only person I know who smuggles drugs into Mexico.”

I smiled. At least I wasn’t in jail.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde


I got down to 222 pounds for boxing. I was running two miles twice a day. I rode my bike. I did rounds on the heavy bag. I lifted. I sparred with John Caruso, who was my trainer and a former heavyweight champ of the Marine Corps.

I was pretty thin, after being 280 previously. And my wallet got pretty thin that year, too.

It was 1978, one of my worst years in terms of success, fame and fortune, and I was trying to fight my way out of it. My French restaurant and disco Buster’s, in Saratoga, Cal., was doomed as the disco fad faded.

After getting bounced around by life that year and in the previous years, I figured the safest place for me was the boxing ring.

I have to confess the year wasn’t a total bust. I had a little cash from working on television in the Superstars and a couple other events. But it was not steady income and sometimes it was a hand-to-mouth existence. Occasionally, I had to lay sod to make money. I took the sod off the truck and threw it down so it would unroll. I could sod a yard in about two minutes. That’s how I learned my way around shovels and wheelbarrows.

I had a couple of other things going that year, too, but mostly I was spinning my wheels. I was working on my real estate license. I was involved with a 24-hour Nautilus gym. Then there was Mike Esparza and his furniture business, Comfort Stuff. It was lounge-type furniture, big cushions and large frames. I liked it. It was like opium den furniture.

Esparza was a smooth talking fellow. He was good at figuring you out and selling you the moon. Soon I became the endorser. This was change for me, as usually I was more like an enforcer and had had a couple of jobs like that. I invested $5,000 in Esparza’s company.

We’d go into banks and he would point to me and say “He’s invested. This is going well.” And I’d look around like I was going to buy the place. I was the guy who made them look honest. Soon, I was getting passed around by guys who were using my fame to make themselves seem legit. I was part of the petting zoo.

Usually, you get paid to do that. But I was paying. I guess I didn’t read the manual about making endorsements. It’s that old rule – when you look around the poker table for the sucker and can’t find him, then you know it’s you.

But I really didn’t fit in that sort of life. I wasn’t used to being the strong, silent front man. I liked to work behind the scenes, seeing what I could get away with, where’s the wives and daughters, that sort of thing. And I’m not one to sit quiet and nod my head. I like to run my mouth.

So after getting arrested at the Christmas party for Comfort Stuff, I wanted my money back. That was when I was driving a big, canary yellow Gran Prix with Illinois plates in San Jose. Talk about a big radar signature. The cops actually stopped me in the parking lot for DUI. It was annoying. I got out of jail, held my head high and got out of the furniture business.

Then I found Caruso. We started going to the San Jose gym. You walked up three flights of stairs. It was a “Requiem for a Heavyweight” type place. A lot of boxers – many of them Hispanic – trying to become prize fighters.

It was interesting to watch the pro boxers beat up on the amateurs.     The amateurs would try to score points with classic boxing tactics. The pros would just try to smash them.

I would spar with Caruso. He was a lot smaller and could get inside of me. Within the first couple of weeks we were trading punches. I was like the new kid that shows up with all the new stuff. I remember he got inside me once and gave me a shot to the liver. It stunned me. My liver was quivering. My bladder was splattered. That’s what it felt like.

He wanted me to box professionally in Mexico and Italy. I didn’t think that was a good idea.

It was about that time that I was getting involved in the Highland Games and there was an event in Georgia in which I competed. I went to Atlanta where I ran into Bucko Kilroy, Mohammed Ali’s financial manager. I knew Bucko through my old girlfriend Heidi Spitz. They had become an item.

Kilroy asked me what I was doing and I said I had started my boxing career and was planning on a world tour. This was a lie, of course.

But he was impressed and said Ali was there for an exhibition and was going to fight a round with a local kickboxer. A couple of local politicians were going to get in the ring with him. It was a goodwill exhibition and fundraiser.

Kilroy said, “I can slip you in for a round with Ali.”

I thought “Yes, I won’t have to go box in Mexico or Italy. I’ll just start at the top.” I agreed to spar with the Champ.

The big show was at the Omni in Atlanta and it was packed. I had my pipe and drum corps with me for a big fanfare. I wore traditional Scottish dress — a kilt, headgear, and the stockings with a dagger in one of them. I looked like William Wallace with boxing gloves.

Ali saw the dagger in my stocking and asked me, “Have you been hanging around with colored peoples?”

I said, “Why?”

He said, “That knife you got there.”

For maybe the second time in my life, I didn’t know what to say. I’ll never forget the moment. So I said, “Are you here to talk or throw hands?”

So the bell rang and we walked to the middle of the ring and touched gloves.

So we’re tapping and tapping. And he’s working me to the ropes so he can do his rope-a-dope tactic. I couldn’t get at him.     I pulled his arms down and tried to tap him on each side of the jaw, which he slipped. I wasn’t trying to hit him hard, anyway.

We went back to the middle of the ring and he got lower and lower and suddenly he stood up tall and gave me a left hook and a right hook right over my head. He could have put them on my jaw, but he didn’t since it was just an exhibition.

He was just showing me that he could put his punches wherever he wanted.   That was the end of the round.

Later, I asked Angelo Dundee, his manager, if he thought I could make it boxing.

“Why don’t you get a job?” he said. “You’re a good looking white kid, this ain’t for you. Boxing is for the Negroes.”

The alarm went off. I thought, “What?!” I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. In hindsight, I don’t think he meant it as a racial slur. It was just how he felt about boxers.

I followed his advice and stopped boxing. But I didn’t get a job. I never gave that a second thought. I did start looking ahead to the 1980 Olympics and another trip to Moscow. I picked up the shot and started throwing.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde


I was falling apart. No job, nothing coming in, no prospects of sudden wealth. Or even gradual wealth.

My life as a professional and world class athlete had been ripped out from under me, like a bad tablecloth trick.

Everything I touched turned into coal in 1978, including my French restaurant and disco in Saratoga, Cal., “Buster’s.” The joint actually went bust. Buster’s was busted.

I was busted, broke, and bamboozled, down on the mat, flat on my back. It was the worst year of my life. Or at least one of my worst years. I’ve had a few, but I think 1978 was at the bottom of the heap.

I had done a lot of interesting things up to that point — the Munich Olympics, ABC’s Super Stars, the World’s Strongest Man contest, and a world record throw. But there I was, without a pot in which to pee.

So what do you do when you’re flat on the mat, when you‘ve got nothing to lose? You do what you know. You go back to the gym. You put on your best game face. You fight. You start boxing. And you end up sparring with Muhammad Ali, king of the ring.

I started re-building everything, beginning with the legs. Everything flows from the legs, whether it’s throwing or boxing or mowing the lawn. Of course, everything flows from the belly, too, and all athletes travel on their stomachs, just like an army.

That’s why “Buster’s” was my kind of place. We had a manager we recruited from TGIF. We had great food. I had lobster, filet mignon, and Pulley Fussy* almost every night. That’s not how you spell it, but close enough. It’s a fine white wine from France that goes well with seafood, chicken and banana splits, this last a concoction which has always been one of my weaknesses.

You get the idea. I was living the high life.

You might wonder how a French restaurant aspiring to be a four star establishment acquired the name “Buster’s” instead of, say, “Rue de Champignon.” If you pronounce it right, “Buster’s” can be a fine French name, as in “Le Buster’s.” Whereas, “Rue de Champignon” means “Street of Mushrooms.” See the difference?

Soon enough “Buster’s” became “Les Miserables,” the musical about me and the syndicate I put together to start the joint. We ended up with a cast of characters who all wanted to be the boss, including me, who wanted to be the benevolent dictator.

There was a lot of kitchen conspiracies, plots against the management, and constant stirrings of discontent and revolution. You wouldn’t think there would be so much maneuvering, but it was one castle intrigue after another. That’s because back then a lot of people paid cash for their food and bar bills and everybody wanted to be close to the register at night.

It’s no wonder the restaurant business has been a source of reality TV shows. There’s a lot of conspiracy, treachery and betrayal with sharp knives at the ready.

But it went belly up after three months. We were counting on attracting the disco crowd and disco was on the downturn. Disc jockeys were blowing up disco records at Comiskey Park. People were sick of the BeeGees. It was the year that disco was trashed by the rock and roll people. Disco was off the floor and out the door.

So to work off my anger, disappointment and general hatred of the world, I began my industrial strength workout. Mega sets were my thing — 500 pound leg presses for 50 reps.

I rebuilt the engine and put new shocks on.

When Buster’s opened that year, I had just returned from the “World’s Strongest Man” contest and I brought John Matuszak from the Oakland Raiders with me. He was a defensive end, had played for several other teams and hailed from Oak Creek, Wis., a southern suburb of Milwaukee.

I beat him at the “World’s Strongest Man” competition. Matuszak and I were the two little guys at the event. We were up against the big guys like Bruce Wilhelm, 6-4, 335 pounds. There I was, a puny 251.

Earlier that year, I had met John at a Super Bowl party. He eyed me and said, “Oldfield, I thought you’d be a much bigger man.”

I said, “John, I have my dimensions. I am a bigger man.”

He liked that and we struck up a friendship. He was 6-7, 305 pounds and no fat on him. He was a great all-around athlete — discus and shot thrower, football player and boxer.

But he was a problem child for the Raiders, which was a problem team at that time. You didn’t want to meet any of them in a dark alley. John was involved in some incidents off the field and the team sent a liaison guy to watch over him.

That guy eventually thanked me for having a good influence on Matuszak. Imagine that, me having a good influence on an NFL player! It didn’t last. He later was banned for life from the Raider’s locker room and then in 1989 died from an overdose of painkillers.

John put the wild in Wild Turkey. I couldn’t keep up with him. He and Pete Maravich, the late basketball player, out-partied me. I was in awe. When I was out with either one of them, I’d have to raise the white flag and limp home. Too bad they both partied themselves into the ground.

I took Matuszak to the grand opening of Buster’s and he scared the shit out of everybody, but I didn’t think he was that dangerous. I had been appointed commander of the bouncers, so I sort of deputized him and kept an eye on him.

We attracted some of the local NFL cheerleaders, whom we called the Ramettes. No hidden meaning there. They would come to “Buster’s” and dress the place up.

Another reason “Buster’s” went bust was some of the partners couldn’t get along. I had to referee a parking lot altercation between two of our investors, one of whom was a 200-pound former NFL quarterback and the other our 300-pound Greek restaurateur. After a meeting, they went at each other in the parking lot over who was going to get a bigger cut of the pie.

I wish I had it on tape. The big guy kept throwing himself at the quarterback, who kept dropping back in the pocket to avoid a collision. It went on for a few minutes until I calmed them down and put them in neutral corners.

Looking back, I think I must have been a limited partner, because I only got invited to the fights, not the meetings. But that’s OK because I really didn’t know what I was doing.

So there had been this wonderful episode in which I was the golden boy, had a leased Camaro, wine, women and song, a French restaurant. Le bon temps roulette.

And then a big fat zero. No more Camaro. No more lobster. No more Pulley Fussy. No more Ramettes. I was the boll weevil again, out there looking for a home. Plan A was gone. I needed a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan D was teaching school again.

Plan B. I got some old boxing gloves, a mouthpiece and looked up John Caruso, a pro who had boxed George Foreman and received an eye injury for his efforts. He was fearless and had been the heavyweight champ in the Marines.

I found him at his office and said, “You Caruso? Show me how to box.”

He took me out to his driveway and we put on the gloves and started sparring.

He told me I needed a manager. “Why?” I said.

“To keep you out of jail.”

*Pouilly Fuisse


By Brian Oldfield with George Houde

Meet Butch, the Other

            I know I have done some things in my life that haven’t been totally, um, legit. The arrests for various minor offenses, like that time in Houston where I hit a bouncer; the biker I punched in West Dundee; the Arkansas job I lost trying to defend myself against a thrower gone berserk.    

            That was not me. It was Butch.

            Brian has a resume. Butch has a police record. Brian wanted to be polished, urbane and witty. Butch wanted fun, women, wine, women, beer, song, women and decent reefer.

            Butch was the other. Butch was a good guy to have at your back, though. Butch is like having a pet gargoyle. Brian was like having a really big, friendly maitre’d. “May I recommend the foi gras tonight?” That’s Brian.

            “May I recommend the Pabst Blue Ribbon with bourbon on the side and a Dallas Cheerleader chaser tonight?” That’s Butch.

            I was Butch before I was ever Brian. The nurses gave me that name because they thought I resembled a wrestler who called himself The Butcher.  My dad was 300 pounds, my mother weighed 240 pregnant, so I was not going to be petit.  After they saw what I was going to look like, my parents named me Brian, which means courageous, courteous and strong. Two out of three isn’t bad, although I can be polite when I want to be.

            And Butch has always been there somewhere, sometimes deep inside, sometimes right there near the surface, lurking, just waiting to come out and play and mess around.   

            They were going to shoot me in St. Petersburg, which at the time was called Leningrad. It was at the Hermitage Museum. There was a carriage there with what looked like diamonds. It was roped off so I leaned over to touch a diamond, just to impress my friends, when I heard the metallic clang of an automatic weapon hitting home. It was hard to mistake the sound reverberating in the hall.

            A guard was pointing his weapon at me. I quickly put my hands up and said,  “Sorry, I was only kidding.”  He lowered his rifle. I put my hands down, nodded and slowly walked away. I had a talk with Butch about it later. “Don’t ever do anything like that again,” I told him. He didn’t say anything.

            Butch would come out when you least expected it. Once at a community summer festival, a cop in uniform came up and gave me grief about talking in the beer tent with an underage guy I knew. The kid was trying to score some beer.

            The cop was a big guy, but not real bright so Butch looked at the cop’s name tag and said, “Is that Polish?”  The  cop grabbed Butch and Butch flipped him on his ass. Then things got out of hand. Some of the cop’s friends came at Butch yelling, and Butch punched a couple of them. 

            Then more cops came and Butch calmed down. They started walking him to a squad car, and Butch thought, “I’m going to jail.” They had him by the arms and he threw them off and knocked a couple of them down. He took a couple of steps and turned and laughed. That’s when Butch saw them pull out guns.  Butch said, “Oops” and took off, running a zig-zag course across the street. He jumped over some bushes and tried to hide. But they found him with guns drawn and Butch knew the jig was up. He let me, Brian, return to be the friendly diplomat and bon vivant.

            They let me out on a personal recognizance bond and I, Brian, went to court a couple weeks later. I think they charged me with inciting a riot. They dropped the charges and I walked out. But nobody got hurt and it was the 60’s, a time when everyone expected that kind of stuff. And it was only a riot of one. 

            The kid who came to the beer tent? He bought me beers for the next 30 or 40 years.

            Sometimes I replay the Butch tapes in my head. I say to myself, “Did I really do that?”    

            Butch had a nose for trouble. A lot of times he got picked on. One time after a track meet in Knoxville, I was having beers with some friends when a hillbilly came running up in an unfriendly manner. Butch came out and punched him the chest. The guy staggered back and fell onto a table. He came running back at Butch again. Butch  punched him in the chest again. He fell back, landed on the table and came running  again.  Butch punched him in the face. He went down.

            I have no idea why the guy was on the attack except Butch must have said something to him.  Obviously he was suicidal.

            I’m a Gemini, so Butch is my evil twin. But everybody has a Butch lurking somewhere under the surface and we need him, because Butch was the guy who kept coming back and coming back and coming back after Brian was ejected, rejected and dejected. Butch was the guy who made Brian into the never-say-die competitor, the rebel, the revolutionary.  But he has to be managed. He’s not the smooth talking, slow walking type. Secretly, he’s Brian’s best friend and says stuff like this quote after the Olympics, “I had so much energy after the event, I wish there had been a fist fight.”

            I’m telling you about Butch because if you don’t have a Butch, you have to find him, or her, down in that dark, wild reservoir that we all have deep inside and let Butch out occasionally. It’ll help your throwing.

            Even the mean dog has to be taken for a walk now and then and sometimes let off the leash.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde


This is the time when you rebuild your dreams, when you work on all those promises you made to yourself last season.

You know the promises I’m talking about. The promise to train harder, to be lean and mean, to come back looking better than when you left, to increase your strength, and to further your throwing career by throwing farther.

Promises. I made a promise to myself when I had my first knee surgery to stop smoking. Every time I wanted a cigarette I thought of that painful surgery and I would do push-ups, sometimes 50 at a crack. This was effective.

The knee surgery had nothing to do with smoking, but it was my way of dissuading myself from smoking by associating smoking with pain, and it worked. I stopped smoking. I quit for as long as I had an active throwing career. After that, I just mooched cigarettes.

It was a tough thing to do back then, in the last century, to quit smoking, because they used to give cigarettes to everybody. They would hand out samples of cigarettes. Airlines used to hand them out. If you didn’t smoke, you were almost forced to smoke. Pilots smoked in the cockpit of aircraft. Can you imagine? How could they see anything?

You could smoke in hospitals. In patient rooms, in the waiting areas, everywhere. Doctors smoked. Now you would be given the boot. I guess when Ireland banned smoking in pubs, it was the sign of the anti-smoking revolution. God bless the Irish.

I tried to quit swearing, but it didn’t work, damn it. It was an unrealistic goal.

That promise you made to yourself to track your progress. I took detailed notes of my gains in lifting and throwing. Notes are important; they’re your past and your future. Review your notes. If you don’t have notes or a training diary, you are wrong. Study yourself, but not in the mirror.

Training notes don’t have to be complicated. Just something to remind yourself about the weekly goal, the monthly goal and the yearly goal. I bought a calendar, the kind with big squares, and I would plot what I aspired to do and what I actually did. If I had a meet coming up I would note what I wanted to throw; or if I wanted to bench press 365 next week, I would note that. Then if I met or exceeded that goal, I would outline that square in red.

After a while, I had a lot of red squares. Every time I looked at the calendar it would remind me of the promises I made to myself. That would trigger the drive to excel and the drive to train to excel. I could use the calendar to set goals and gauge what was possible to achieve.

For instance, I would start my squat program at this time of year. Let’s say I wanted to be a 500 pound squatter. I would start with 400 pounds and do a six-week program to get up to 500. There are several formulas to do this but generally you start with 20 percent less than your goal and do six sets of two on Monday, six sets of three on Wednesday and so on. You can get these formulas on line. Or email me. I like to get mail.

I did front squats, too, which people told me were bad. But I became a believer in front squats for throwing. They are more dynamic and can improve the power of your throw. If you’re not doing front squats, promise yourself to do front squats. People don’t like them because they’re uncomfortable, but they kick butt for throwing.

Your lifting should be as specific for throwing as you can make it. Front squats are in that category. The overhead press is specific. I could do an overhead press of 500 pounds, which meant a lot more for my throwing than being able to do a bench press of 500 pounds. If you’re not doing the overhead press, promise yourself to start doing them.

But promise yourself you won’t have a program that leads to a one repetition max. That’s when you hurt yourself. You always want to be able to do more than one rep. I could do three reps of overhead press at 450 pounds. I knew I could do 535 for one rep, but that is when injuries occur, in the one rep maximum. So promise yourself not to hurt yourself in training.

Some of these lifts were not popular when I was coming up through the ranks, but I tried to do what other people weren’t doing and that made a big difference in my throwing.

Another promise: Set attainable goals. This relates back to keeping track of where you came from and where you are and where you want to be.  If you’re a 20 meter thrower with a 16-pound shot, then next year you want to throw 20 meters with an 18- pound shot. Then the next year you want to throw with a 20-pound shot.

I also would measure myself against who I thought was my major opposition. I would take their weight and divide it by their height in inches and get a sort of comparative analysis. I was about 3.6 pounds per linear inch. George Woods was about 4.2 pounds per linear. Al Feuerbach was about 3.75.

The three of us worked out on the Olympic team together. I had a standing throw of 64 feet. Feuerbach had a standing throw of 65 and Woods had one of 66 feet. I could see where their mass was greater than mine by their standing throw.

You can use this to tailor your training program in terms of weight lifting, running and throwing. What do you need to match Woods’ throwing if you don’t have his mass? You need speed, since M x S = D, where D is distance. Obviously, this is not a sophisticated type of measurement and equation, but it can be useful to reach your goals.

The other thing I always worked on was my biorhythms.  This is just stopping the training and listening to your body and mind, writing your observations in your notes. Track those. They can help you in scheduling training or days off. Never forget to take goof off days here and there. I think I took quite a few of those.

I write this because if you don’t improve, nine people will get ahead of you and you’ll be 20th next year. Or maybe 30th.  Then how will you get that scholarship? I want to see you improve, damn it.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde

When in Rome, Do as Brian Does

Ancient Rome was the home of the gladiators and it’s very moving to see the Coliseum where the slaves battled to the death. It was a time when human life didn’t mean too much, unless you were part of the aristocracy and had some sway. Of course, those people stabbed each other with some regularity, too, in order to fatten the personal treasury or assume the family farm. I believe that is still occurring in all corners of the world.

This also reminds me of the U.S. Olympic Committee which stabbed me several times in the back, but was never able to get rid of me. They always underestimated me. I fought back in the best way I knew how — I kept pounding on the door.

That was all on my mind at the World Games in Rome in 1982 A.D., or as they tag it now, 1982 C.E. That stands for Common Era. Needless to say, there has been nothing common about the era, including me. And that’s why I was in Rome, trying to put on my best gladiator face and demeanor for throwing against a field of large, strong athletes. Good thing we were not allowed to throw at each other.

It crossed my mind that our throwers, namely the Americanos, looked a lot more like the statues of the naked Roman warriors and gladiators arrayed around the Coliseum than the modern Italians themselves. I don’t know how that happened. Maybe when Rome fell for the last time, so did the muscle tone. I kept looking around for a shot-putter and then realized the shot-put started in Scotland in the 12th Century.

It was a world-class event and featured a lot of famous track and field stars, including Carl Lewis, the sprinter and jumper.

Of course, we weren’t competing in the actual Coliseum. Only tourists are allowed in there now, and besides, it’s pretty small, certainly not the size represented in Hollywood films, though it is a magnificent structure.

The 1982 meet was held in a first-rate stadium that seated 60,000 spectators. It was the one that was the scene of the 1960 Olympics. The Italians take track and field much more seriously than we do here in the U.S. It ranks right behind soccer there. Maybe they take it so seriously because they had centuries of throwing spears, running, jumping over piles of bodies and going everywhere on foot. That can lead to tradition.

I had finished throwing and my performance was not up to par, but I wanted to watch the rest of the events. The World Championships are always a spectacle and attract the best, so they’re worth watching.

I didn’t have a place to sit in the stands, so Carl Lewis’ family said I could sit next to them. I was always friendly with his family and when his sister, Carol, saw me and extended the invitation, I said sure. I had gotten chummy with the family over the years, seeing them at meets. They’re great people.

They were in the upper grandstand and I had to squeeze past an Italian family. I took Carl’s seat since he was still on the field competing. Almost immediately a female member of the Italian family began squawking at me because I didn’t have a ticket. She gave me the evil eye, no kidding.

I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I stepped on her toes. I had a USA jacket on and maybe she didn’t like that. For a minute, I thought they were going to pull out the daggers and start stabbing me, a la Julius Caesar. I hoped her husband’s name wasn’t Brutus.

What to do when you’re getting the evil eye from the Godmother? I played the big, ugly American and didn’t budge, something I’m really good at. It’s a good strategy when you’re in a non-English-speaking country.

The Godmother continued to have fits and fetched the police. When the officer showed up, I was still smiling and nodding and playing dumb. I figured they might leave me alone and I could enjoy the rest of the competition.

That’s when the officer waved at me with a little motion of his hand, like he was waving a little goodbye. I waved goodbye back, a nice little friendly wave, and kept smiling.

He waved again. I waved again. Then he walked over to us. I didn’t know that in Italy a wave like that doesn’t mean goodbye, it means come here. Who knew? Then he asked for our ticket stubs.

I thought, here, you go again, Butch, getting booted out of something for no good reason. It was a problem I had had since childhood. First grade, Cub Scouts, bars, bedrooms, hotels, the Olympics. Butch, my evil twin, had caused a lot of problems over the years, broken a lot of china.

But the Lewis family showed them the stubs for the seats and the officer shrugged and walked away. The Italian family was not happy, but there was nothing they could do. So I stayed and enjoyed myself. I had scored a small victory and fended off the evil eye.

The message in this story? That officer’s little wave of the hand meant much more than I realized at the time. And so it is with throwing. I reiterate for the thousandth time, work on all those little nuanced movements that limit your technique and shorten your throw.

We’ve talked about the feet, the legs, the torso. We’ve even talked about the brain. But it’s in the hands, too. Your hands. A small motion of the hand can mean so much in life and in your throwing life. It’s about throwing with precision and how you hold the shot can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Is your hand under the shot? Is it too forward? Are the fingers splayed or closed? Have you experimented enough with your grip? Is the thumb pointed up or down? Is the palm facing in, out, or back? Is your hand under your jawline or behind it?

It won’t be the same for everybody, so you need to experiment with your hand position until you find the optimal mechanics for your technique.

I recommend to my students holding the shot behind the ear with the thumb pointed up. That way you get a longer application of power in your throw. But don’t take my word for it. Try it. Now.

By the way, I sat next to Carl’s family the following day and thought, “Mama mia, here we go again with the evil eye.” But the Italians figured out who I was and when I showed up they asked for my autograph, all smiles. I relented, gave it to them and waved goodbye to the evil eye.  Then I went to an English pub, played darts and drank a few wee pints.

Post-script: Dec. 4 is the birthday of the Italian track and field meet promoter Sandro Giovannelli. He turned 97. Sandro got me into gobs of meets not only in Italy but in Europe and he treated me first class. He helped me make a living during my comeback years in the 1980s when I became the resident foreign thrower in Italy, shot and discus. He is a great guy and I wish him the very best.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde

Two Left Shoes And a Lonely Place

The year was 1988. The event was the Olympic trials. Diarrhea.

The year was 1984. The Bruce Jenner meet. Hemorrhoids.

The year was 1969, the national track and field championships. Over slept for discus.

Olympic trials, 1980. Two left throwing shoes in the gym bag. Really, two left shoes. I pulled them out and thought, I gotta stop drinking.

1982. National championships in Knoxville. My third throw, 71 feet. The official ruled that I fouled. But in film reviews the next day, it showed that I didn’t foul. I would have gotten into the finals, but I was on the outside looking in again.

This made me wonder, was it over-officiating, or was there a conspiracy against me? Did someone put something in my food in 1988? Did someone switch shoes on me? Did someone drug me in 1969? Was that official blinded by my bubbly personality?

It’s a really difficult thing to train for something and have notions of what it will be like and then experience it, because the experience is never what you imagine. Murphy’s Law is always at play. Something will go wrong. Count on it. Life just goes wrong.

My question is: How do you live your life up to that day in order to overcome all the obstacles, all the conspiracies against you? I’m still searching for the answer.

I never took the discus too seriously. But there were days.     I was 24 and not doing well in the shot-put. I was throwing 63 feet or so. So I was going to throw discus at the national championships in Dade County the next day. My coach, Ted Hayden of the University of Chicago Track Club, wanted me to throw discus. He thought it would help my career.

The next morning he came into my room. I was still sleeping. He said, “Are you competing in the discus today?”

I said, “Yes, I am.”

He said, “I think they started already.”

I remember it well because it was like an alarm clock, an alarm clock with red flags waving in my face.

I jumped up and stumbled around and got ready. I took the shuttle bus and arrived at the field. The officials had all the flights booked already, the scratches were made up. I was all ready to go, but nowhere to throw. I was out of luck. But at least I was out of bed. I watched the throwers and felt bad. John Cole set a record that day, 216 feet. I had never seen a discus thrown that far.

Then Mark Murro set a record in the javelin, 300 feet and change, I think. So it was a good day for American throwers. I just wasn’t part of it.

That was a huge blunder. There I was, poised for another day of competition at the national championships, for which only one percent of the upper one percent qualify. That means you are in high company, extremely high company of the extreme first order. I should have been up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for it, ready to throw until my arm fell off, but instead I was slacking like a teenager. I guess I already was on my way to becoming a prima donna.

Eighty percent of success is simply showing up, according to Woody Allen. I guess he meant showing up on time.

This sort of thing always happened to me in spite of my best efforts to fly right. But I’m not the only one. I could tell you about the track guys at the Olympics who missed their event because they were playing penny-ante poker, but I won’t.

My theory about these events is that they are a manifestation of the subconscious fear of success. It’s more common than you think. Fear of failure is always there, but anybody who fears to fail may never compete, because failure, as Michael Jordan said, is commonplace. Remember that he said he failed thousands of times in order to succeed. You just have to push the fear back. That can be done. I feared failure so much I would throw up before events.

But fear of success is different, more complex. It can make you do dumb things, like over sleep, pack the wrong shoes, drink too much the night before.

Because if you become successful, you have to keep on succeeding and keep up the image, the responsibility, the status, the prima donna-ship.

At the 1980 Olympic trials, I arrived on the field and reached in my bag to change into my throwing shoes. I pulled out two left ones. I was dumbfounded. I searched for the right one, but it wasn’t there. The night before I failed to prepare, as I was having a close encounter of the female kind. So when I was leaving for the trials, I just threw my stuff in a bag and headed out. Good thing I didn’t pull any female underwear out of there.

Not having the right shoes is a major concern. I ran around the field and found the Adidas representative. This was in Eugene, Ore., which was Nike Town at the time.  He was sort of hiding out, trying to look inconspicuous, but he had shoes for me, size 15. So I started throwing and made the team as an alternate.

Not that it mattered. President Carter cancelled U.S. participation in the Moscow games that year because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Thirty years later, guess where the Americanos are.

The left shoes were not the only issue that day. I had been battling the USOC for a right to compete after I had turned pro. It was still in question whether the USOC officials would allow me to throw. But I had a secret weapon in my bag besides the two left shoes – a cigar. My plan was to hold a sit-in in the throwing circle if they didn’t allow me to compete. I’d light up the cigar and just sit there, puffing my own personal protest, waiting for the gendarmes to haul me away. But they let me throw and I was kind of disappointed about not holding my protest. I would have made the newspapers again.

I don’t even want to talk about 1988 and the diarrhea. But let me tell you this, it was a most miserable day. First of all, the Olympic trials were in Indianapolis, which was within striking distance for my family. My mother, sister and her hubby and my nephew came to watch me attempt to get into the Seoul Olympics.

This was my swan song in competition. I was 43 years old. But I thought I could make the team. I threw 67’5” the week before at a meet in Los Gatos, Cal.

But those little conspiracies. I had to be the tour guide for my family. That was a distraction. We had a hotel room and I couldn’t get into the bathroom because three other people had to use it, too. It was hot and the female heptathletes were running around in their little sports bra outfits. Distracting.

I started eating ice cream sandwiches, drinking Gatorade, orange soda pop and all kinds of other crap.

We were driving to the trials and I was riding shotgun, my brother-in-law driving. I felt the volcanic eruption begin to rumble in my guts. I told him to drop me off at the front gate. I jumped out and made a bee line across flower beds and other no-trespassing areas toward the portable outhouses. A security guard tried to stop me. I told him, “Hey, I gotta go. Stay outta my way.”

And I went. It was miserable and hot in that plastic john. No toilet paper. I used my T-shirt and put on a singlet. I finished up and ran to the field. People had already taken their warm-ups. I was sweating and sick.

I got to the ring and could not get enough lift into my throws. I was wiped out and dazed. I did not get into the finals.  My throws sucked. I couldn’t get into the groove. I couldn’t even get my game face on.

Still, I came within an inch of getting into the finals and thought, if only I hadn’t had that gastric disturbance, that last ice cream sandwich, that can of orange pop. But shit happens and that was the end of competition for me.

I still think about those little human details that catch up to you and throw you off the world athletic stage. You end up in a lonely place, like that portable toilet.

I’m still not a morning person.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde


There were no snowballs in Dallas and El Paso. I had left those behind in Lake Tahoe, where I revitalized an old motor skill and learned that throwing, rather than shoving, would be the path to enlightenment.

My path had been meandering hither and yon and around the block. I didn’t know it at the time, but that snowball fight was the beginning of my technical revolution. It was childlike in its simplicity.

I was becoming emancipated from the chains of habit and trying to get more throw into my put of the shot. I was becoming an artist. I wanted to get poetry into my throws, plus a lot more power. In essence, I wanted to become the poet laureate of the throwing circle and make, whirling, elegant and effortless throws. I began seeing it in my imagination.

All good throwers should try to do this, to break out of their long-held beliefs that only power and strength create the path to success. Throwers need to become fluid and flexible. And create fluidity and flexibility in their movements. We’re not only talking about the rotational throw, but the glide technique as well.

Let me give you an example. I had a group of middle school kids at a clinic. We had to start with the standing throw, then you taught them to throw running backwards. I started at the basics and that made me go back through the history of throwing and I reviewed all of the advances in throwing over the past century. In the early days, it was the hop-sideways-and-throw style. Then the O’Brien style which involved a 180 degree turn. Then the rotational throw, which requires 540 degrees of turning.

Now throwers are flirting with a double revolution, requiring 720 degrees of rotation. All of these techniques developed from the basic desire to throw not only farther, but finer, honing the human form into a dynamic combination of power, speed, and grace.

The glide technique won the last two Olympics because strength and power triumphed over the minor faults of the rotational throwers. The rotation is a complex and difficult technique to perfect and subject to flaws. Tiny imperfections shave distance off the throw.

But back to Dallas and El Paso. In February, 1976, the ABC Super Stars competition in Florida was over. I had been in the finals again there. In March, I went to Lake Tahoe and honed my snowball skills which led me to begin thinking, a dangerous thing.

A word about the Super Stars, I had been training extra hard during the winter to try to stay with O.J. Simpson in the 100 yard dash. He held the record of 9.6 for the show. I don’t think he’s running like that anymore.

With Bruce Jenner, I ran on grass without spikes for a 9.8 dash. That was faster than I ever thought I could be. I was running twice a week and lifting twice a week. I began to believe I could qualify not only for the Olympic weight lifting squad, but also for the sprint team. In the overhead press, I was lifting 450 for three reps.

I relate all this because I hope there is somebody out there saying, “Hey, I can do that. And I can do it even better.”  That’s how I started. I saw John McGrath throw rotational at the National championships one year and thought, “I can do that. And I can do it better.”

I was a little on the light side, so I started force feeding, going to the all-you-can eat buffets and brunches, and I went up to 265. It was tough training. My favorite food group was protein. I wanted to eat everything the vegetarians left on the serving table. My friends and I had competitions. I gained 11 pounds after one sitting. We were kicked out of one place because we picked all the shrimp and other delectables out of the dishes.

We actually had contests – beer, buffets and throwing. Who could drink the most beer, eat the most food, and throw the farthest. That was the kind of environment I was swimming in. The late Rick Bilder, one of my fellow contestants, gained 13 pounds after one buffet sitting.

After a stop in Dallas, I arrived in El Paso and that night Bilder and I went across the border to Juarez for relief from the stress of practice, practice, practice, and train, train, train. We began drinking shots of good tequila. I think it was 75 cents a shot, plus 25 cents for a beer. You could get a lot for a little and I began to stray from the path. Those were the days when Mexico was pretty safe and you didn’t have to worry about being kidnapped or shot and robbed. Just bombed on tequila.

Somehow we made our way back across the border. The next morning I had to give some demo throws for the media because you could get paid to do promotions for the International Track Association and I was up for them. At the salary I was making, I couldn’t afford not to do them. But that morning, I was not my usual grumpy self. I was a lot worse, puking in the shower.

Finally I staggered out to meet the press. The press was invited to write or broadcast a preview of the ITA meet. So there I was, feeling like I was going to heave and I don’t mean the shot. The tequila was oozing from my pores.  I just wanted to get it over with. I remember I was throwing almost 72 feet and they wanted more. I thought that was pretty good for exhibition for the rat pack journalists. But one of the TV stations was late, so they asked me to wait. But another wave of nausea swept over me and I took off before I puked in the throwing ring.

The meet promoters were yelling at me like I was an indentured servant. I told them, in a polite way, “F— you.”

Two days later we had the meet. The tequila had burned off by that time and I returned to my stronger, faster self. I started warming up. There was a log or telephone pole on the ground marking the end of the landing zone, which was 72 feet away.

I asked them to move it farther out, which they did, out to about 84 feet. There were people standing on the log, including my old training partner, Fred DiBernardi.

I threw 71 feet, then I threw 76 but fouled. Then 78-11 and fouled that. Then I knew I could throw 80 feet. The enlightenment kicked in. It felt like I was throwing a snowball, lofting it into a nice arc and it seemed to float away from my hand.

Out on the log, Fred and the others saw it coming and scrambled away like ants. The shot hit the log and bounced off. I fouled that throw, too, but in that instant I had a glimpse of the future of throwing. I knew then that someday, somewhere, someone would throw the shot 80 feet for the record book.

Looking back now, I think that I was just one party away from another world record. I just left a little too much in Juarez and maybe my balance was just a teeny-weeny bit off. A little less tequila and who knows what could have happened.

That was all in the last century and this is a new one. And I know that somebody will throw 80 feet before the next Ice Age. After El Paso, I managed to add to my portfolio by becoming a color commentator for ABC at the Montreal Olympics. They liked my bombastic personality. Yes, I became a rat pack journalist.

By Brian Oldfield with George Houde