100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Sam Colson, javelin

Sam Colson 1976 Olympics (1977 photo).jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 09:00:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sam Colson, a native of Beloit, Kansas, narrowly missed a medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

He placed fifth in the javelin, finishing one meter behind the mark that claimed a bronze medal.

Colson competed for the University of Kansas in college, winning an NCAA championship in 1973 after finishing third in 1972 and fourth in 1971.

He was an AAU champion in the javelin in 1974, finishing third in 1971 and again in 1975.

Colson also won a gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games.

According to his Olympics profile, he was the top-ranked U.S. javelin thrower in 1974 and 1976 and earned a top-10 ranking in the event every year from 1970-76.

Colson was ranked as high as No. 6 in the world rankings in 1974, but he’s perhaps best known for his role in the Clemson steroids scandal.

Colson served as Clemson’s strength and conditioning coach and women’s track and field coach in 1985, when he pleaded guilty to providing prescription drugs, including steroids, illegally to student-athletes.

He was charged with eight counts after the death of a Clemson student-athlete led to the discovery of a drug-trafficking ring that originated in Nashville, according to a January 1985 article in The New York Times.

Colson was fined $2,000, placed on probation for three years and ordered to perform eight hours of community service per week for a year as part of his plea agreement, according to a March 1985 article in The New York Times.

He told investigators that he initially started using steroids while at KU to help him manage pain.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

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