George Woods
Woods in 1973
Personal information
Born(1943-02-11)February 11, 1943
Portageville, Missouri, U.S.[1] [2]
DiedAugust 30, 2022(2022-08-30) (aged 79)
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight300 lb (136 kg)
Event(s)Shot put, discus throw
ClubPacific Coast Club, Long Beach
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)SP – 22.02 m (1974)
DT – 55.32 m (1968)[1][3][4]
Medal record
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1968 Mexico City Shot put
Silver medal – second place 1972 Munich Shot put

George Woods (February 11, 1943 – August 30, 2022) was an American athlete who mainly competed in the shot put. Born in Portageville, Missouri, he moved to Sikeston, Missouri, as a baby. As a senior at Sikeston High School, Woods became the first Missouri high school athlete to top 60 ft (18.3 m), setting a Sikeston school record that still stands to this day. He would go on to attend Southern Illinois University.[5]

Woods competed at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. After winning the US Olympic track and field team trails in 1968, he was overtaken by fellow American shot putter Randy Matson (Texas A&M) in the Mexico City games, settling for the silver medal behind Matson’s Olympic record performance. Four years later in 1972, he again entered the games as the American Olympic trials champion and the favorite for Olympic gold. He came close, but was again denied Olympic gold. Wladyslaw Komar, a virtual unknown from Poland, set an Olympic record at 21.18 m (69 ft 5¾ in) on his first throw. Woods responded, steadily and methodically, reaching 21.17 m (69 ft 5½ inches) in the fourth round. While Komar never approached his opening effort throughout the series, Woods couldn’t pick up the final centimeter on his remaining throws. He would settle for another silver medal. Woods would win the U.S. trials again in 1976, but finish seventh at the Olympics.[1]

Woods had a great indoor career, winning national championships in 1967–1969 and 1973. His 1973 meet record of 69 ft 9½ in stood as the meet record for 20 years. A year later in 1974, Woods set the indoor world record at 22.02 m (72 ft 3 in), a mark that would stand for 11 years. He ranks 5th among shot putters all time indoors, and his record throw is the 10th longest indoor effort of all time. His outdoor best ranks him in the top 40 putters of all–time worldwide, an amazing statistic after nearly 30 years.

Woods was inducted to the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2007.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "George Woods". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on January 21, 2009.
  2. ^ "George Woods obituary". September 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  3. ^ George Woods at World Athletics Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ George Woods.
  5. ^ a b George Woods Archived April 8, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. USATF Hall of Fame

Media related to George Woods (athlete) at Wikimedia Commons