Roald Bradstock

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Roald Bradstock in his latest hand-painted Union Jack outfit

Arne Roald Bradstock (born April 24, 1962 in Hertford HeathHertfordshire) is an English athlete who competed in the men’s javelin throw event during his career.[1] He twice represented Great Britain at the Summer Olympics: 1984 and 1988. In 1992 he was an alternate for the GB Olympic Team and in 1996 was an alternate for USA Olympic team. Bradstock competed in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 USAT&F Olympic Trials. Bradstock is affiliated with [Dacorum and Tring Athletic Club].

In 1981 Bradstock, aged 19, threw the senior men’s 800 gram javelin 83.20m. He also won the silver medal at the European Junior Championships. He finished that year being ranked number two in the World Junior rankings behind Uwe Hohn of East Germany.

In 1985 he became the first British Javelin thrower to break the 90 meter barrier with the “Old Rule” javelin with a Commonwealth Record of 91.40m / 299 ft 10″. The following year, in 1986, he became the first man in the world to surpass the 80m barrier with the“New Rule” javelin with a World Record Throw of 81.74m. In 1987 he improved on his mark with a throw of 83.84m / 275 ft 1″.

In addition to being an Olympic athlete, Bradstock is also an Olympic artist dubbed “The Olympic Picasso”.[2]

In 2000 he won the United States Olympic Committee ( [USOC] ) Sport Art Competition. His winning artwork was exhibited at the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne as part of the cultural activities leading up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

In 2003 Bradstock won the prestigious International Sports Artist of the Year. This award was given by the United States Sport Academy (USSA) and American Sport Museum and Archives (ASAMA)in recognition of Bradstock unique award winning style of art called “athletic abstraction”.

A symbolic artistic representation of the Olympics and the Olympic movement. An original acrylic painting by Roald Bradstock

In early 2006 he became a founding member of an Olympic revival movement called Art of the Olympians ( [AOTO] ). Other members of the small elite group of Olympian Artists included Olympic Icons Al Oerter, Bob Beamon,Florence Griffith-Joyner and Peggy Flemming.[3]

In late 2006, after the BBC heard of an ambitious proposal Bradstock had for the 2012 London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games ( [LOCOG] ) which would combine Sport and Art in a revolutionary way and scale, he became nicknamed “The Olympic Picasso”.[4]

In December 2007 Bradstock began posting athletic and artistic videos on YouTube at “roald62”. The videos range from the serious to the humorous. He is seen competing breaking national, international and world records in the javelin throw. He can also be seen throwing everything and anything from a dead fish on a beach across the Alabama / Florida State line to throwing a kitchen sink as part of a “Random objects throwing competition” that was held on an airport runway in England as apart of a UK television series on Channel Four called the McCain Track and Field Show.[5]

Some of Bradstock’s throwing feats include: Throwing a vinyl records 112.10 meters, a golf ball 170 yards, a cell phone 132 yards, a soccer ball 82 yards and throwing an iPod classic 154 yards.[6]

In 2008 Bradstock competed in his 7th Olympic Trials ( 4 UK Olympic Trials, 3 US Olympic Trials ). At age 46 he was the oldest competitor at the 2008 USATF Olympic Trials. Bradstock received international media attention while competing at the trials on July 4, 2008 but not for his age. He took three throws, wearing different, brightly coloured, hand painted outfits each time. He also threw three different hand painted javelins – each one matching a corresponding outfit.[7]

In May 2009 Bradstock threw a World Age (47) Javelin Record of 72.49m.[8]

In October 2009 the IAAF granted Bradstock a change in “Status” allowing him to compete again for his native country of Great Britain. Bradstock now has his sights set on making his 8th Olympic Trial in in 2012 when he will be 50 years old.

Throughout the 2010 competitive season he broke 26 UK National age and age group records and set 3 World Age Records for a 48 year old: 70.16m, 70.40m and 71.07m. He finished in 8th place at the 2010 UK Trials and the following week won the 2010 UK Masters Championships smashing the meet record with all 6 throws.[9]

In June 2010 Bradstock’s artistic accomplishments were recognized in a new international contemporary Sport Art book written by the American Sport Museum and Archives (ASAMA). The chapter on Bradstock is titled, “The Olympic Picasso”.

On January 8, 2011 Bradstock threw 71.83 m/235 ft 8 in in a competition in Clermont, Florida. This throw broke the 12 year old UK Masters Record and broke his own World Age (48) Record.[citation needed]

On April 30, 2011 in Radford, Virginia he set a World Age (49) record of 70m. Three weeks later in Tucson, Arizona on May 19, he broke his UK Masters Record 3 more times and set 3 New World Age (49) records, too. His throws, measuring 72.32m, 72.87m and then 74.73m pushed him up to number 3 on the 2011 UK Rankings—at that time. It also qualified him for his 8th Olympic Trials. He will be 50 years old when he competes in the 2012 UK Olympic Trials.[citation needed]

In the Spring of 2011 Bradstock was appointed Legacy Ambassador in the UK for the Youth Sport Trust’s 2012 Sports Colleges Legacy Programme. This appointment came after working with the Youth Sport Trust for 2 years. During that time he gave lectures at a dozen Sports Colleges around England on the connection between Sport and Art.

On June 2nd 2012 in Clermont, Florida Bradstock competed in his first competition as a 50 year old. The result: He smashed the M50 World Age Group Record with a 700 javelin by over 5 meters with a throw of 76.15m. The previous record was 71.01 m thrown in 2007.

Three weeks later on June 23rd, 2012 Roald Bradstock threw in his 8th Olympic Trials in Birmingham, England. His first throw was another M50 World Age Group Record this time with an 800g javelin. His throw of 72.78m was over a 7 meter improvement on the existing World Record! The previous record was 65.76m held by Larry Stuart in 1988. Bradstock’s throw won him silver medal at the trials were he was not only the oldest athlete in any event but became the oldest medalist in any event in 76 years since 1936.



Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  United Kingdom
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 7th 81.22 m
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 18th 75.86 m
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 25th 75.96 m
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece 24th 74.92 m


  1. ^
  2. ^ Steve Landells, Bradstock’s Olympic vision (UK: Athletics Weekly, Oct 2006) pgs. 20-21
  3. ^ Art Of The Olympians, Meet The Artists page [link here]
  4. ^ Collin Jackson, Raise Your Game (BBC Website) [link here]
  5. ^ McCain Track and Field Show, UK Channel 4
  6. ^ The Universal Record Database, Longest throw with an iPod
  7. ^ NBC 2008 Olympic Trials Video [or] New York Times Article
  8. ^ Spikes Magazine Article, Roald Bradstock sets US M45 javelin record [link to article here] or footage here
  9. ^ Simon Turnbull, Bradstock Rolls Back The Years [UK: The Independent National Newspaper]



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