Interview with M45 javelin master Roald Bradstock

How serious is Roald Bradstock, the new M45 American recordholder in the javelin? He made a special request to USATF to be restored to its out-of-season drug-testing program. Of course, he’s eligible, since he’s qualified for the USATF Open nationals and probably the 2008 Olympic Trials. But that’s not the most interesting thing about Roald. He’s also a world-class artist — dubbed the “Olympic Picasso” in this Athletic Weekly profile. (PDF) A little while before Germany’s Peter Blank bested Roald’s world age-group record, Roald took part in an email interview.

Here’s my Q&A with Roald: Where do you live, and where do you paint?
Bradstock: I live in Marietta, Georgia. I have a studio and office in Atlanta.
Where can one view your artworks?

My website is On it you can see some selected pieces of my sports themed works and also my fitness artwork. The website is down right now – but should be up again in the next few days.
How much do your best pieces sell for?
The largest paintings are $10,000. The smallest pieces are $2,500. The value of my work is rising rapidly — in fact, it has doubled in just the last year. The first attachment, Overlapping javelin thrower — a small pen and ink drawiing — sold at live auction in London in November, 2006 for $5,000! Also FYI this piece is derived from my 91.40 Commonwealth Record throw in May 1985.
Where did you learn how to paint?
I have always done painting, drawing and sculpting. I got “Advanced” levels in all three in high school in England. Then went on to get my degree from SMU in Dallas, Texas.
Tell me about your family –wife, kids, cats, dogs?
I just got remarried in Feburary to a wonderful woman called Clarissa. She was a package deal, so I am now a stepfather to her two daughters, 12 and 15. Her kids are great and she is a real comedian. Seriously — she does standup comedy as a hobby. I also was a package deal, bringing with me two daughters from my last marriage (ages 4 and 7 ). We also have three female dogs (one of which is a 10-week-old puppy). I am thinking about getting a sex change just so I fit in!
Tell me about your javelin — what brand, specs, weight, etc.
The javelins I throw are older then most all my competitors (1986 /7 ). They rattle when I throw, most of them have a slight bend in them and wobble in flight; the paint is flaking off them, the tip of the points are rusted (from being stored on the clay in the basement) and the grips are almost totally smooth because of all the resin buildup from 20 years of throwing. Not the best javelins, but they feel good.
What’s your current height, weight? What was your 1980s height, weight?
Then: 5 feet 11, weighing 196 pounds. Now: 5 feet 10, weighing 226.
Was 71.75 a surprise? Or were you expecting even better?
Not at all. I threw 74m+ (242-9) in training a couple of days before my 45th birthday. I am expecting a lot more over the next year leading up to and at the 2008 Trials next year. I have not been able to do sprints or really explosive bounding since February this year so…
What are your chances for a 77.0 Trials qualifier?
Fifty percent. just need the right conditions
Tell me the chronology of your path to citizenship.
Arrived in America on August 29, 1981.
Got married in December 1987.
Got green card 1991. . . .
Got U.S. citizenship in July 1995 in an intimate ceremony with 2,023 other people!
Why did you chance citizenship?
I had been here for 14 years. I felt like I was an American. I wanted to vote. I wanted to compete for the U.S.
When was it official?
July 1995.
When did Britain release you for USA team membership?
There was no releasing as such. I am still British, but now also American. They had some other young javelin throwers coming up that were quite good. I think their names were Mick Hill and Steve Backley.
How do you train now, and how does this differ from your Olympic training?
It is all about fitness now as in “Survival of the fittest.” Javelin throwing is so stressful on the body. Eighty percent of my training is aerobic, cardio and flexibility — which leaves 20 percent for javelin specific training. Twenty years ago, it was the opposite with 80 percent focused on the javelin specific training.
A major part of masters athletics is injury management? Few people compete pain-free. What do you do to avoid new injuries or rehab current ones?
Always warm up, always listen to my body. Start icing and rehab immediately when (you) get injured. Constantly modify exercises and training program due to age and various and ever increasing limitations.
Are you still coaching Breaux Greer?
No, but we still talk on occasion about what he is doing.
You must be very proud of his Carson AR.
Yes indeed – about time too!. But there is a lot more there – and I mean a lot.
Have you been in contact with Breaux since Sunday?
Yes I talked to him the next day.
Is he aware of your M45 WR? (now the AR)
Any chat with him about your weekend throws?
Again, yes
Where will you throw this year?
I am going to throw at Indy and then Orono.
Former elites and Olympians are taking masters athletics more seriously. What can be done to make masters athletics more friendly to former world-class open athletes?
The most frustrating thing for me is the delays in meet and rescheduling competitions times. It is really hard to warm up and get ready to compete when the time can move forward or back 1 or 2 + hours. It is very frustrating and also hard on the mature body.
Whenever a thrower puts up big numbers, some people think: Drugs. Since USATF does no drug-testing (because of expense), how can the masters community be assured records are legit?
Good question. I don’t know really. Personally in my event I would be more concerned about the legitimacy of the implements thrown. I don’t believe “Drugs” would really help an “older” javelin thrower. Being fit, flexible and technically prohicient are keys to success in my humble opinion.
FYI: January last year I contacted Craig Masback directly requesting to be put on the out-of-season drug testing. I contacted him again last month and made the same request.
How long will you continue to throw — age 50, 60, 90?
Until I am dead! I am taking my javelins to the grave with me.

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June 14, 2007