Charter Inductee - 1961
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. A severe knee injury in his first varsity football game at Kansas in 1954, ended his football career and led Neider to concentrate on track where he became one of the finest shot putters in history. 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 and world record holder, Parry O’Brien of California and Dallas Long to lead a 1-2-3 American sweep of the event. 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. Neider finished his career at Kansas with the 28 best shot put marks in Big-Seven Conference history and he won five conference championships. Twice he won the Texas-Kansas-Drake Relays triple crown. Inducted into the University of Kansas Hall of Fame. Born August 10, 1933 - Lawrence, Kansas. Graduated Lawrence (KS) H.S., 1952; University of Kansas, 1956.