Randy Barnes
Randy Barnes (front) at the UTEP Sierra Medical invitational meet in 1994
Personal information
Full nameEric Randolph Barnes[1]
Born (1966-06-16) June 16, 1966 (age 57)[1]
Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.[1]
Height6 ft 5 in (1.95 m)[1]
Weight291 lb (132 kg)[1]
Country United States
EventShot put
Coached byRobert Parker
Achievements and titles
Personal best23.12 m (1990)
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1996 Atlanta Shot put
Silver medal – second place 1988 Seoul Shot put
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1993 Stuttgart Shot put
Bronze medal – third place 1995 Gothenburg Shot put

Eric Randolph Barnes (born June 16, 1966) is an American former shot putter who held the outdoor world record for the event from 1990 to 2021. He won silver at the 1988 Olympics and gold at the 1996 Olympics.[2] Only three throwers have been within 40 centimetres (16 in) of his outdoor world record since it was set.[3] Barnes was banned for 27 months in 1990 for anabolic steroid usage, before he received a lifetime ban in 1998 after testing positive for androstenedione.


Barnes was born in Charleston, West Virginia,[1] grew up in nearby St. Albans, and began putting the shot in high school. In 1985, he put an impressive 20.36 metres (66.8 ft) with the prep shot of 5.4 kilograms (12 lb). After graduating from St. Albans High School in 1985, he attended Texas A&M University where he broke school records (set by Randy Matson) with a put of 21.88 metres (71.8 ft) with the 7.26 kilograms (16.0 lb) full size shot. While at A&M, Randy worked with hall of famer conditioning coach Istvan Javorek and throws coach Robert Parker.

He went to the 1988 Seoul Olympics where he put 22.39 metres (73.5 ft) and earned a silver medal at only 22. He came second to Ulf Timmermann of East Germany, who put 22.47 metres (73.7 ft).[1] On January 20, 1989, he set a new indoor world record at the Sunkist Invitational in Los Angeles with a put of 22.66 metres (74.3 ft), which was better than his outdoor personal best at the time.[4]

On May 20, 1990, he broke Ulf Timmermann's outdoor record with a put of 23.12 m (75 ft 10 in).[4] Six days later he almost matched his world record, throwing 23.10 m (75 ft 9+14 in) at the Bruce Jenner Invitational in San Jose. Barnes was banned from competing for 27 months after testing positive for the anabolic steroid methyltestosterone at a competition in Malmö, Sweden, on August 7 that same year. He sued to have the suspension overturned but lost. Due to the suspension, he was unable to compete in the 1992 Olympics.[5]

At the 1996 Olympic Games, Barnes won the gold medal that eluded him 8 years earlier with a come-from-behind 21.62 metres (70.9 ft) put on his final attempt.[1] In 1998, he tested positive for androstenedione, an over-the-counter supplement (famously used by baseball player Mark McGwire) that is banned in track and field. Although Barnes claimed he did not know androsten was banned, he was suspended from competition for life.[6]

Barnes later became a long driving competitor, competing to hit a golf ball as far as possible; he qualified for the 2005 World Long Drive Championship.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Randy Barnes". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  2. ^ IAAF World Records. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-01-18.
  3. ^ IAAF All-Time Top List after 2019 World Championships. IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019 – All-Time Top List . Retrieved on 2019-10-06.
  4. ^ a b Randy Barnes. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-01-18.
  5. ^ Hersh, Phil (1991-04-24). Track Panel Turns Down Barnes` Steroid Appeal. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2015-01-18.
  6. ^ US athletics stars suspended. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 2015-01-18.
  7. ^ Warters, Bob (2004-08-24). Golden Olympian's now a long driver. Golf Magic. Retrieved on 2015-01-18.
Records Preceded by Ulf Timmermann Men's shot put world record holder May 20, 1990 – June 18, 2021 Succeeded by Ryan Crouser