Harold Vincent Connolly
1 August 1931 – 18 August 2010
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to USATF Youth Hammer Throw Fund and sent to the following address: USATF Youth Hammer Throw Fund, c/o Robert Gourley, 3 Greenville Drive, Barrington, RI 02806-1217
Wednesday marked the passing of the greatest figure in the history of hammer throwing: Olympic gold medalist Harold Connolly passed away. Harold, who founded this site over a decade ago and still coordinated it until his death, had as deep a love for the hammer throw as anyone. His involvement in the event spanned over six decades from starting the event as a student at Boston College in the 1950s to orchestrating a domestic resurgence of the event in the last few years. After a career that included four Olympic Games Harold continued his involvement with the sport as a successful coach, guiding such greats as Olympian Kevin McMahon. As he got older, his focus shifted more and more to youth throwers, as he knew the key to getting another American on the podium started with teaching more kids the event and spreading it to new people. For the past decade, Harold has been conducting clinics across the country, advocating for the inclusion of the hammer throw at various USATF youth events, and starting the USATF Youth Hammer Throw Training Grant Fund, which awarded over $6,000 to youth hammer throws this year. Towards the end of his life, his efforts began to pay off: despite never having won a gold, America has won the last two world junior titles. Both winners were Americans that Harold mentored.
What many don’t know about Harold was that as much as his life was consumed by the hammer throw, he was a well rounded individual that touched many others through his work as an educator, the President of Special Olympics, and as a loving father and husband. There is now a large void wherever his life touched.
Please feel free to share your memories of Harold in the comments below.
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