Quote from Brad Reid
O'Brien was infamous for his antics and I guess competitive fervor.
Even when the shot-putters finally got several feet beyond him . . . late in his lengthy career, he really never gave them much respect.
At around his peak competitive period, he used to wait until a competitor was just on the verge of coming out of the back of the ring, then he'd slam his shot down on the ground or walk around in the thrower's line of sight, things like that to break their focus. And, when throwers were finally equal to him and just edging ahead (late 50s), he'd demean or criticize their marks as lacking for one reason or another.
My fave story is him rooming with a well-known pole vaulter, and doing handstand presses up against a wall. I think it was Don Bragg and he'd do 15, then Parry would struggle to do 3, then 10 for Bragg and another 2 for Parry. Finally, Bragg's arms were so tired after several back and forth sets where he out-did Parry, he could only do 1 rep at the end . . . so Parry kicked up and through shear determination willed his tired arms to somehow do 2 reps, dropped down and said "Beat cha!" and walked away.
Everything was a competiton for him, made him a great shot-putter I guess.
Years later he swam in masters meets and folks, once figuring out who he was, were amused to find him lining up to pick up his silly little purple ribbon for placing in a local masters event as if all of the Olympic medals at home weren't enough.
He died in the middle of a pool at a competition, as I recall, sort of a fitting closing act for what summarized his life: athletic competition.
Coach Rodney is so correct, and if someone had been tough enough, O'Brien might have been thrown out of a window years earlier.
published at Mar 8th 2013 5:25am on http://www.effortlessthrow.org/
Quote from ABG
I was at the USTFF Nationals in 1980, myself Jessee Stuart and Brian were in our room doing a pre meet prep ) Brian had been messing around with his boxing phase and was always slap boxing with anyone in reach. We were in the hall heading to the meet when he starts on me. He pops me a couple times and comes in for another when I ducked and came up and cupped him hard in the ear. I saw the eyes widen and the smoke starting to rise just as I turned and ran the fastest I have ever run. He warmed up at 75 feet that day splitting the stop board, I think he threw 71' 6" in the meet, I sucked and pretty much called it a season after that.
published at Mar 8th 2013 9:15am on http://www.effortlessthrow.org/