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10 49ers with Ties to the Olympics

Posted Aug 11, 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are about to take center stage. With the latest installment of this historic event about to begin on Aug. 5th, let’s dig back throughout history and revisit some Olympians with connections to the San Francisco 49ers.



With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro about to begin on Aug. 5th, let’s dig back through 49ers history and revisit some Olympians with connections to the team. 




1. Michael Carter – defensive tackle (1984-1992): Carter not only has three Super Bowl rings, but Olympic hardware as well. Carter played his entire nine-year career with the 49ers organization. Carter, a fifth-round draft pick out of SMU was a three-time Super Bowl Champion (XIX, XXIII, XIV), a three-time pro-bowler (1985, 1987, 1988), a three time first-team All-Pro (1986, 1987, 1988) and a second-team All-Pro in 1985. He amassed 22.5 sacks and one interception in his career. Before he buckled up his chin strap at Candlestick Park, Carter had an impressive shot-put career. While a member of the SMU football team, he was a part of two of the best teams in school history. In track and field, he won four indoor and three outdoor NCAA shot-put championships. After graduating, Carter qualified for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif., where he won the silver medal in the shot put.

2. Michelle Carter – daughter of Michael Carter (1984-1992): Michelle followed in her father Michael’s footsteps as an Olympian in the shot put. She first qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, where she placed fifteenth in the shot put. In the 2012 London Games, she placed fifth in the shot put. At the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships she set the world record with a distance of 20.24-meters (66 ft. & 4 3/4 in.), which still stands today. Be on the lookout for Michelle this summer in Rio de Janeiro as she has qualified again and is in search of her first Olympic medal!

UPDATE: Michelle Carter won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. It came down to her final throw and she had to toss a personal best—and an American Record— to win, but Carter wasn’t fazed. She threw a distance of 20.63 to put herself into first and into the history books as the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the shot put since Earlene Brown won the bronze medal in the 1960 games.

3. Bob Hayes – wide receiver (1975): Hayes’ time with the 49ers was short-lived playing in only four games, but this former Super Bowl Champion took the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo by storm. During his strong collegiate career at Florida A&M, Hayes set a then-world best time of 20.5 seconds in the 200-meter dash.  He was then selected to the 1964 US Track and Field team for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games. In Tokyo, Hayes dazzled the world. Hayes tied then world record in 100-meter dash at 10.6 en route to his first gold medal, but his performance in the 4 x 100-meter relay is his most memorable moment as an Olympian. He received the baton trailing France, but ran a hand-timed 100-meters between 8.5 and 8.9 seconds–one of the fastest relay legs in history–to bring home the gold. That United States 4 x 100-meter relay team also set a new world record running the relay in 39.06 seconds.

4. Kelly Blair LaBounty – wife of defensive end Matt LaBounty (1993): Kelly began her career at the University of Oregon. She played both basketball and track and field, but shifted her focus to track and field after her sophomore year. In 1993 she won the national championship in the heptathlon. Kelly qualified for her first Summer Olympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta, Ga., where she placed sixth in the heptathlon. She again qualified for the heptathlon for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, but missed the games with an injury. Her husband, Matt had his eight-year NFL career begin in San Francisco.

5. Renaldo Nehemiah – wide receiver (1982-1984): Nehemiah spent three seasons with the 49ers as a wideout. He hauled in 43 receptions for 754 yards and four touchdowns in his career. He was also a 110-meter hurdle specialist earlier in his professional career. He was given the nickname “Skeets” as a baby due to the fact that he crawled fast. The nickname stuck. He was the national junior champion in the 110-meter hurdles in 1977 as a senior in high school. Following high school, Nehemiah attended the University of Maryland, and as a sophomore, broke the 110-meter hurdles record in back-to-back weeks. He won the 1979 IAAF World Cup. He qualified for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but wasn't given the opportunity to compete due to the 64-nation boycott. Nehemiah stands as the first person to run the 110-meter hurdles in under 13 seconds.

6. Ray Norton – halfback (1960-1961): Norton was a member of the 49ers for two short seasons, where his major contributions came on special teams with a career-long 60-yard kickoff return in 1961. Prior to joining the 49ers Norton was an accomplished track-and field-star. As a junior at San Jose State University, Norton tied the world record in the 100-yard dash with a time of 9.3 seconds. The following year he won three gold medals at the 1959 Pan American Games in the 100, 200, and as a member of the 4 x 100-meter relay team. He then came in first place at the Olympic Trials in both the 100-meters and 200-meters and was a heavy favorite going into the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. However, his performance in the 1960 Games did not go as planned and Norton did not earn a medal.

7. Lawrence Okoye - practice team defensive tackle (2013-2014): Prior to choosing football and beginning his career in San Francisco, Okoye was an accomplished track and field athlete specializing in the discus throw. Okoye was born in South London where he grew up playing rugby. He shifted his focus to the discus early in 2010. One short year later in 2011, Okoye won the gold medal at the European Athletics U23 Championships at the age of 19. He currently holds the British record in the discus throw with a toss of 68.24-meters set in May 2012. He qualified and competed for Great Britain in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, finishing 12th.

8. James Owens – running back (1979-1980): Owens spent two seasons with the 49ers mostly as a kick returner. In his two seasons in the Bay Area, Owens returned a total of 19 kicks for 254 yards and an average of 13.4 yards a return. Prior to joining the 49ers, Owens went to UCLA and qualified and competed in the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal. He finished sixth in his only event, the 110-meter hurdles.

9. Cherrie Sherrard – mother of wide receiver Mike Sherrard (1989-1992): Cherrie, known back then by the full name Cherrie Mae Parrish represented the United States in the 80-meter hurdles at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Her son, Mike, spent four seasons in San Francisco and during that stint he was a part of the Super Bowl XXIV Champion team.

10. Dave Sime – father-in-law of wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (1994): Dave Sime earned a silver medal in the 100-meter dash in the 1960 Rome Olympics. The speedster is the father-in-law of wide receiver Ed McCaffrey who spent one season with the 49ers in his 13-year NFL career. McCaffrey was part of the 49ers Super Bowl XXIX-winning team and won two more Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos. He is also the father of the 2015 AP College Football Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey.