When I was a kid Al Oerter was a big time Olympic athlete. I can remember seeing this giant of man wheeling around the cement ring hurling the discus with the power reserved for superheroes. To me he was busting out of his Olympic tunic, with huge rippling muscles. Mind you when Al was ruling the ring I was around 5 years old. I was in awe of this hulking figure of a human and marveled at his power and consistency. Later when I was in high school and Al was in the twilight of his career I was on the track team as a shot putter, long jumper and occasionally I ran low hurdles. Every time I stepped into the shot Putting ring I was Al Oerter even though I was a tall lanky kid. I envisioned myself as Al and my speed across the ring allowed me to win many events despite the fact I wasn’t powerful or hulking. I was greatly surprised to discover Al was an artist and did much to promote Olympian artwork. Here’s a taste of Al Oerter, artist.
Al Oerter is the only athlete to win the same Olympic event four times in a row setting Olympic records each time. His Olympic accomplishments are legend enough but the man, Al Oerter, is remembered by family, friends and fans as a man of integrity, humility and kindness. His simple human decency won the hearts of many. He lived life to the fullest and did his best in all life’s endeavors. Al’s legacy in sport will linger on in perpetuity but perhaps more importantly, Al gave our children and generations to come an example that the inherent goodness of mankind does makes a difference in the lives of others. Al’s contribution and generosity to the Sport of Athletics is a model for humanity to follow.
“If we strive to be the best we can be each day, we can do some wonderful things on this earth.” Al Oerter
Two years prior to his passing, Al had a vision to elevate the ancient Olympic Ideals of Body-Mind-Spirit with an art exhibition showcasing international Olympians who were also artists. The dream grew with the spirit of these talented athletes continuing with successful shows in New York City. It was evident the world was ready for the value of Olympism to permeate society once again.
Those ideals of being at one’s best, hard work, fair play and the importance of creative experience through all the arts led Al and his team of devoted friends to open a Center of Excellence teaching our children the importance of integrity and high ideology through art and sport.
Art of the Olympians is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity headquartered in Ft. Myers, FL . We continue to follow Al’s dream and plan to open in the historic riverfront district by early 2010 and need your help. Please consider contributing to Al’s modern-day arena that will be a home to physical, educational and artistic excellence. To ensure the gallery/museum/educational center is of Olympic quality, the cost for renovations is $1.89 million.
We thank you for helping with a legacy that Al believed in and worked his last years in forming. What better way to honor the man and his Olympic friends in helping the world produce its best citizens once more.
Please go to www.artoftheolympians.com for more information on this exciting and unique plan paralleling art and sport as the ancient Greeks intended. Any donation will make certain our children understand the importance of being at your best in all life’s possibilities, just like Al Oerter and the countless Olympians who continue to strive for excellence.