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“Olympic Picasso” is back! Roald Bradstock

Roald Bradstock

His paintings are as internationally famous as his javelin throwing prowess is in track and field, even at age 55 he is still breaking records. He only failed by cms at the British Olympic Trials to reach the B Qualifying Standard for the London 2012 Olympics; it would have been his third Olympic Games and he would then be aged 50. He was unlucky not to have been included in the British team for Atlanta in 1996. These Trials would be his eight successive Olympic Trials and 2012 would be his 40th consecutive competitive season. He was aware that all his opponents were aged between 19 and 27, not even born when he competed in his first Olympics in 1984! His 2nd place at the Trials just fell short of meeting the tough new standards introduced by UK Sport who had spent £millions supporting elite athletes from all sports, but only those who were likely to reach a final or were young with future Olympic medal potential, were considered for selection by UK Athletics.

Artist Roald Bradstock stands out in the crowd; he paints and wears his own athletic apparel and even paints his javelins in matching colours; he trains like an Olympic champion, he is single minded and talks about his performances, he records every training session and takes care of his body and what he eats. He also breaks Masters javelin records and he has a huge following on social media.

Competing in the NCT/PURE Athletic Sprint Elite Meet in Clermont, USA on 13 May, Bradstock sent the 700g spear soaring through the air in the following sequence: 63.31m, 64.95 and 66.76 for a new M55 World Record, breaking the 2010 mark set by Michael Brown, USA (66.11m). On his final attempt, he reached out to 65.86m but had fouled. He has submitted the signed official Record Forms to the British Masters for ratification; they have now sent them to the renowned European Statistician, Ivar Soderland, who will then forward to WMA for ratification. Bradstock also has a 62.88m mark this year with the 800m javelin.

Bradstock was born in Herts. near London but has lived in the USA for some years. His durability is extraordinary. He was a European Junior Championships silver medallist at aged 19 and ranked 2nd on the World Junior list. In 1986 when the new javelin specification was introduced, he was the first to thrower over 80m (81.74m).

He was competing as an Under 23 when he qualified for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where he finished 7th with a throw of 81.22m, below his qualifying best of 83.06m. He went on to the 1988 Seoul Olympics where he finished 12th with 75.96m. As an M45 he entered the British Senior European Championships Trials in June 2011, placing 8th with a throw of 65.17m. He turned up for the British Masters Championships in Cardiff a few days later on 3 July where he smashed the British Masters record throwing over 64.92m. Both well below his best that year of 71.22m in the USA in April.

His best ever 800g is 91.40m set in Texas in May 1985 and 76.15m with the 700g. He moved into the M55 age category in April and is currently ranked 16th on the British all ages javelin ranking list. Malaga next year?

Bradstock Video via Youtube: Flying Vinyl - 71.72m / 700g: M50 WR - 67.10m / 800g: M50 WR

Bridget Cushen
JUne 7, 2017