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Reese Hoffa: The Well-Known Shot Put Champ


Reese Hoffa: The Well-Known Shot Put Champ

Reese Hoffa

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Many felt that Hoffa won the world’s second-toughest shot put competition when he triumphed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. None of the Americans were at their best in the Olympics, however. Hoffa's 20.53-meter effort (67 feet, 4.27 inches) was only good for sixth place in Beijing. But Hoffa reached the Olympic medals podium in 2012 when he took third place in the London Games.

Childhood Travels:

Born in Kentucky, the four-year-old Hoffa, and his older brother, Lamont, were put up for adoption by their young, single mother. Hoffa was soon separated from Lamont and moved to Georgia with his adoptive family. Hoffa was reunited with his birth mother in 2000, after each began searching for the other.

School Days:

Hoffa wrestled, played baseball and football, and stuck with track and field in high school, even though a coach told Hoffa he wouldn’t be any good. Hoffa later won two Georgia high school shot put championships for that same coach. Hoffa then earned four consecutive All-American honors at the University of Georgia.

Fun Times:

Following a 2000 victory at the Drake Relays, Hoffa began a personal tradition by taking a victory lap while holding a turkey leg in one hand. He continued that tradition after winning the 2007 World Championship. A pro wrestling fan, Hoffa competed in the 2004 Home Depot Invitational wearing a black mask with a red X on it and dubbed himself, “The Unknown Shot Putter.” He set a then-personal best of 21.67 meters (71 feet, 1.15 inches) at that event. He’s voiced a desire to one day compete while wearing a bear suit.

Career Highlights:

Hoffa, trained in Athens, Ga. along with American rival Adam Nelson prior to Nelson's retirement. Hoffa won the World Indoor championship in 2006 and the World Outdoor title in 2007. Hoffa finished 2006 and 2007 ranked No. 1 in the world by Track & Field News. He finished second in the 2004 Olympic Trials but didn’t qualify for the final round at the Athens Games. Hoffa earned silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 World Indoor Championships. He flirted with medals in several more international championships but had to settle for fourth place at the 2009, 2011 and 2013 World Championships, plus the 2012 World Indoor Championships. He earned the Diamond League shot put title in 2012.

The Stats:

  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 285
  • Birth date: October 8, 1977
  • Hometown: Evans, Georgia
  • Personal Best: 22.43 meters (73 feet, 7 inches)


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