LONDON – Twenty-seven years after his improbable feat, Michael Carter is starting to believe his place in history might never be duplicated.
Carter is the only man to capture an Olympic medal and follow it with a Super Bowl ring inside a 12-month span. He pulled the rare double in the 1984 Los Angeles Games and then with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX. A silver medalist in the shot put, Carter is in London coaching his daughter Michelle, who will compete in the same event in these Games.
"For me to beat him, I've got to get gold," Michelle Williams said Wednesday. "I can't do anything about the Super Bowl rings."
After finishing 15th in the 2008 Beijing Games, Michelle is a long shot to medal in London, but she and her father have become one of the intriguing American stories of these Games. Michael Carter is one of the few athletes to own arguably two of the most coveted pieces of sports hardware in America. Bob Hayes also won a pair of gold medals and a Super Bowl ring, but they came seven years apart. Michael Carter completed his double in barely five months.
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Now, Michael's hoping his daughter can add to the family hardware, raising a question: What has made him the most anxious: Competing in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, achieving three Super Bowl victories, or watching his daughter compete?
"More nerve-wracking – watching my daughter," Michael said. "There's nothing I can do after [she goes onto the field]. It's all up to her. She's out there competing. … I have to sit in the stands like everyone else."
Michelle hasn't exactly made it hard on her father while following in his footsteps. Michael remains one of the most accomplished shot putters in U.S. history and still owns the national high-school record in the event, which he broke by more than nine feet in 1979. Michelle duplicated the feat, setting the national high-school shot put record for women in 2003. Both records still stand.
But Michelle said her father didn't steer her into track and field, choosing instead to let her find her own way. It was only after transferring schools as a child – and being forced to sit out her preferred sport of basketball – that Michelle took a chance on the shot put. It was only later in her life that Michael became her personal coach, helping her reach an Olympic dream.
"My dad always had us do what we wanted to do," said Michelle, whose sister D'Andra is a former shot putter at Texas Tech. "We knew what he did, but he never pressured us to do what he did. … It just happened that I was able to be a national high-school record holder like him and go on to college and going professional.
"It was rough at first [having him as a coach], but now that I'm older and I realize what I want to do and we're on the same page, it's a lot easier."
The same page would be gold, but both said they would be happy if Michelle lands anywhere on the podium. That would be enough to add a little more polish to Micheal's feat – which at this point seems more and more unlikely to be repeated.
"The way things are now [with football], it's going to be tough for a young kid or a young man to be able to do both [the Olympics and the NFL]," Michael said. "Right now, if you have any talent, they are going to push you to football – strictly football. I had the fortune of not being able to go to training camp, spring ball, or any of that.
"I don't think it's going to happen for a long time. If it happens."
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- Michael Carter
- Michelle Williams
- 1984 Los Angeles Games