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Carter family is family of shot putters


When trying to identify father-daughter combinations who were both successful in the same field, many names come to mind.

In the music world, Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy, followed Old Blue Eyes’ career with several hits, including her signature 1966 “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” People of the younger generation would point to Billy Ray Cyrus of “Achy, Breaky Heart” fame and his equally talented daughter, Miley.

In the political arena, President John Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline, also pursued a career in public service. Chelsea Clinton aspires to follow in the political footsteps of her father, Bill.

And within the acting world, Henry Fonda and daughter Jane Fonda attained the highest possible recognition as both nabbed Oscars.

However, with both of them still owning national records in the shot put, it is probably fair to say that there has never been a father-daughter high school sports combination quite as outstanding and Michael Carter and his daughter, Michelle.

In 1979, Michael set the national high school shot put record of 77-0 while attending Dallas (Texas) Thomas Jefferson High School. That same year, he had heaves of 75-9 and 74-8½, which rank second and fifth, respectively, on the all-time list in the National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) National High School Sport Record Book. Carter’s performance is the longest-standing national high school track record. While at Jefferson High School, Carter won three high school state titles in the shot put and one in the discus.

During the intervening 33 years, countless prep weight men have tried to eclipse Carter’s performance, but the closest anyone has come (other than himself) was Brent Noon of Fallbrook (California) High School, who went 75-2 in 1990, nearly two feet shy of Carter.

Following graduation, Carter had an 81-3½ performance at the 1979 Golden West Invitational track and field meet. However, since it was following his graduation and the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) state track meet, it is not an officially recognized high school national record. Nonetheless, in 2004, USA Track and Field selected that performance as the 16th-greatest moment in American track and field over the previous quarter-century, and was the only high school mark to make that prestigious list.

Interestingly, Carter surpassed a fellow Dallas student-athlete when he set the national record. In 1968, Sam Walker of Samuell High School had a 72-3¼ throw to set the national standard. While Walker surpassed previous record-holder Dallas Long’s 1958 record by more than three feet, Carter in turn topped Walker’s distance by nearly five feet. Coincidentally, both Long and Carter are members of the NFHS’ National High School Hall of Fame, as they were respectively inducted in 1993 and 2010.

Following high school, Carter attended Southern Methodist (Texas) University, where he was a nine-time All-American in the shot put and discus and won three NCAA outdoor shot put championships. He was also a silver medalist in the shot put at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Carter also excelled in football at all levels, including his nine-year career as a defensive nose tackle with the San Francisco 49ers that included three Super Bowl titles (1985, 1989 and 1990).

Since he retired from pro football, Carter has worked with young track and field athletes. Among those have been his two sons and his daughter, Michelle, who set the girls national high school shot put record of 54-10¾ as a senior at Red Oak (Texas) High School in 2003. Saving that effort for the biggest possible stage, Michelle set that record at the Texas UIL state track meet.

Similar to her father, Michelle owns more than one spot on the all-time high school shot put list as her junior year performance of 53-3¾ ranks fourth all-time.

Michelle went on to the University of Texas, where she was NCAA indoor and outdoor runner-up in 2005 and NCAA indoor champion in 2006. Within USA Track and Field competition, she was a three-time outdoor champion (2008, 2009 and 2011), a two-time outdoor runner-up (2005 and 2010) and a two-time indoor runner-up.

In addition, Michelle was a World Junior Champion (2004), a two-time USA Junior Champion (2003 and 2004), an American Juniors gold medalist (2003) and a World Youth silver medalist (2001).

Like her father, Michelle is an Olympic athlete, as she finished 15th in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

See Also: All-Time Greatest;

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