nieder bill  

Bill Nieder

    • Set numerous high school, college, and national shot put records
    • Two-time Olympian
    • Won gold medal at the 1960 Olympics
      Nieder, Bill
      Inducted 1961

      Born: August 10, 1933 - Lawrence, Kansas

      Graduated: Lawrence (KS) H.S., 1952; University of Kansas, 1956


      An Olympic champion and world record holder in the shot put, William H. Nieder first stepped into the national spotlight while a senior at Lawrence (KS) High School in 1952. A prep All-American football player, the 6-foot-four-inch, 240 pounder was recruited by over 100 colleges. He was the first high school boy to put the 12-pound shot over 60 feet when he recorded a 60’-9 ¾” heave in 1952. Later, he became the first collegian to surpass 60 feet with the 16-pound shot.

      Collegiate Career

      A severe knee injury in his first varsity football game at KU in 1954, ended his football career and led Nieder to concentrate on track where he became one of the finest shot putters in history. Nieder twice set the world record in the shot, the second time a mammoth 65’-7” effort at the 1960 Texas Relays that broke his own mark by 21 inches. Nieder finished his career at Kansas with the 28 best shot put marks in Big-Seven Conference history and he won five conference championships. He won the Texas-Kansas-Drake Relays Triple Crown twice.

      Olympic Highlights

      As a senior at KU, he won the silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Four years later, in Rome, he won the gold medal with an Olympic record of 64’-4 ¾”. Ironically, Nieder nearly missed the 1960 Games after finishing fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials, but he was named as a replacement for an injured teammate. He defeated the two-time defending Olympic Champion, Parry O’Brien of California, and the world record holder, Dallas Long, to lead a 1-2-3 American sweep of the event.


      He is a member of the University of Kansas Hall of Fame.