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Friday, August 20, 2010

Rest in Peace: Harold Connolly, Boston Olympian

Harold Connolly, winner of the gold medal in the hammer throw at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, died on August 19 in Maryland.  He was 79 years old.

Born in Somerville in 1931, Connolly suffered from severe nerve paralysis as a child and spent most of his youth in physical therapy.  He compensated by training diligently with strength conditioning, weight lifting and athletics at Brighton High School and later at Boston College.

Connolly set numerous American, world and Olympic records in the hammer throw, and was a four-time Olympian.

Following his athletic career, Connolly was a successful high school and college coach, teaching the hammer throw at Georgetown University and Boston University.  He served as executive director of US programs for the Special Olympics from 1988 to 1999.

In 2005 a statue of Connolly was unveiled in Brighton, created by sculptor Pablo Eduardo.  Connolly and his family attended the ceremony, along with his friends and the many athletes he knew in his illustrious career.