Golden: You Throw, Girl — Hall of Famer Michelle Carter isn't finished yet, she insists
Former Texas All-American plans a return to competition.
- Carter was one nine inductees into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021
- Carter won Olympic gold in the shot put in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
- Carter is a three-time Olympian.
- She was a seven-time All-American at Texas.
Imagine being the best at something.
Then imagine your dad being the best at the very same thing.
Michelle Carter knew the score when she famously took home a permission slip from her middle school track coach in Red Oak for her father to sign. She was excited at an opportunity to try her hand at the shot put.
Her dad? Not so much.
“Who asked you to try out for track?” asked Michael Carter, who had already won an Olympic medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He was a terror in the circle, having set the national high school record of 81 feet-3 1/2 inches, besting the previous mark by an amazing nine feet while at Dallas Jefferson.
He also won seven NCAA shot put titles at SMU, Olympic silver and the first of three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers within six months.
I’m guessing that track coach knew of young Michelle’s lineage when she handed her that slip, but Michael Carter had never mentioned track and field to his daughter before that day.
He signed it, but only with the understanding that he would serve as her coach.
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into,” he told her. “It won’t be easy.”
Michelle Carter, the self-described Shot Diva, is now 35. She recalls hearing stories from her mother about the day she was born. Moments after she entered the world on Oct. 12, 1985, the doctor held her up and delivered the news to Sandra Carter.
“Mom, I’m sorry, but she has her dad’s shoulders.”
What a blessing for the sports world. Carter became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the shot put and along the way has shown us that she was more than capable of carrying her family’s winning legacy to the highest of heights.
The weight on those inherited shoulders was immense, but she started winning. And again. And again.
Michelle followed in Michael’s footsteps in high school dominance — she held the national girls' shot put record between 2003 and 2014 — and added a 2006 indoor shot put title as part of Texas’ national team championship. She dominated the competition at Texas, winning five Big 12 titles, and followed up with six national titles in the event.
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And when it comes to the Summer Games, Carter has a bit of a one-up on dear old dad.
At Saturday’s induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, she spoke of her beginning in the sport, about having a coach at the dinner table and how her platform has allowed her to help other young ladies seeking guidance in life.
She also took an opportunity to deliver a nice little zinger at the old man.
“My dad is only a silver medalist,” Carter said at the media availability. “He did the best he could.”
The 2016 Olympic shot put gold medalist completed the first father-daughter duo to enter the Texas hall. They rank right up there all-time with boxing icon Muhammad Ali and daughter Laila as one of the most decorated family acts in sports history.
Michelle was inducted with fellow Texas ex Derrick Johnson — a former All-America linebacker — as well as Super Bowl champion DeMarcus Ware, Baylor basketball great Sophia Young-Malcolm, Oakland Raiders punting great Shane Lechler, five-time Olympic distance runner Francie Larrieu Smith, basketball Hall of Famer Teresa Weatherspoon, Olympic sprint champion Leroy Burrell and Dallas Cowboys legend Charlie Waters.
Carter had planned to begin defense of her Olympic title this spring at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but was forced to withdraw after doctors removed a benign tumor from her foot in June in what was originally thought to be a routine surgery. Missing out on a chance to compete in Tokyo was a tough blow, but she didn’t miss out on the trip, signing on to provide shot put commentary during NBC’s coverage. It gave the world stage a second dose of Longhorns as Carter was on the track near fellow UT track legend Sanya Richards-Ross, who does track analysis for the network.
Not to worry, Carter has been working hard in rehab to get full strength back in her foot, and by the time the World Track and Field Championships make their way to Eugene, Ore. for the first time next summer, she plans to be there.
“Things are progressing,” Carter said.
All the accolades aside, she wasn’t all about competing in the ring. Carter recognized that she could use her platform to make her community better.
Enter You Throw Girl.
Carter, a professional makeup artist and an advocate for plus-sized girls and women, started her organization in 2016 as a sports confidence camp for girls from the sixth to 12th grade. The organization’s mission is to empower young athletes “to thrive while living a healthy lifestyle full of confidence not just in their athletic capabilities but also who they are as young ladies,” according to the web site.
Want to learn how to throw the shot or discus? Carter is there to provide instruction with help from fellow Olympians. More important, it’s about loving one’s own body.
“I really focus on building confidence in who they are as young women,” she said. “I believe that they are young women first and being athletes is like icing on top of the cake. It makes it that much sweeter.”
Sports is just a part of the experience. Goal setting, table etiquette, fashion tips, age-appropriate makeup. Carter has it all covered.
She understands that competing won’t last forever but believes there is room for one more Olympic medal in the packed family trophy case.
By now, we all know better than to doubt the Shot Diva.
You throw, girl.