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Runner’s World "Quote of the Day": Al Oerter
“To exercise at or near capacity is the best way I know of reaching a true introspective state. If you do it right, it can open all kinds of inner doors.” — Al Oerter
Al Oerter was an athlete and artist. He won the Olympic gold four times in the discus throw and combined his athleticism with artistic instinct to create abstract “impact” paintings.
- Along with Carl Lewis (long-jump) and Paul Elvstrøm (sailing), Oerter is the only athlete to win a gold medal in the same individual event for four consecutive Olympics.
- As a retired athlete, Oerter became an abstract painter. Part of his work was his “Impact” series of paintings. For these works, Oerter would lay a puddle of a paint on a tarp, and fling a discus into it to create splashing lines on a canvas positioned in front of the tarp. If the discus landed painted-face up, Oerter would sign it and give it to whoever purchased the painting.
- In the 2000s, Oerter became terminally ill with cardiovascular disease. As his condition progressed, cardiologists recommended a heart transplant. Orter said, “I’ve had an interesting life, and I’m going out with what I have.” He died on October 1, 2007 of heart failure in Fort Myers, Florida.