Michelle Carter has made it to the shot put final at the Rio Olympics, scheduled for 9 p.m. on Friday night. She became be the first American woman to medal at the Olympics in shot put in 56 years. She is also the first American woman ever to win gold in shot put.
The 30-year-old Carter also made it the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
She’s also the daughter of Michael Carter, a three-time super Bowl champion and the only athlete to win a Super Bowl ring and an Olympic medal in a single year.
Here’s a look at Carter’s life and career.
1. Carter Is the First American Woman to Medal in Shot Put Since the 1960 Rome Olympics
It’s been a long time since an American woman medalled in shot put – 56 years to be exact. The last one to do it was Earlene Brown, who won the bronze at the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics. Carter is not only hoping to end that drought, but also hoping to prove to girls who are shot putters won’t look away from the spotlight.
“It has been a long time,” Carter told the New Yorker. “And it’s something I think a lot of girls and women shy away from because it’s not looked at as something a woman would want to do or a woman should do.”
Carter continued, “I think now, it’s like, ‘You know what? We’re girls and we can throw heavy balls and be in the dirt and we look good while we’re doing it.’ I think it’s bringing more attention to the sport and girls are realizing, Hey, I can do this and it’s O.K. to do this as a girl.”
Carter isn’t the only American woman competing for the shot put title. Raven Saunders also made the final. Felisha Johnson also made the Olympics, but didn’t reach the final.
2. She’s a Certified Makeup Artist & Sells Makeup on Her Website
When Carter isn’t competing for shot put medals, she’s a business owner and certified makeup artist. Her company is called Shot Diva and she sells makeup packages online. She cares deeply about looking as best as possible
“I believe when you take the time to take care of yourself and put yourself together, that helps boost your confidence,” she told IAAF.org before the Olympic trials. She wore red hair at the trials in Oregon.
She also told the New Yorker that it’s essential for her to feel good on the field. She thought about how she should look, but decided against caring about what other people think.
3. It Wasn’t Her Father Who Got Her Interested in Shot Put, but a Middle School Teacher
Surprisingly, it wasn’t her father who really got her interested in shot put. According to Athletics Weekly, when she tried out for a basketball team in seventh grade, she didn’t make the ream. So, a teacher suggested she try shot put. She did and it changed the trajectory of her career in sports.
However, Carter told IAAF.org that he first sport was soccer. “My very first sport was soccer. I used to play in goal but after I was hit the face with the ball a couple of times, I was done with soccer,” she said.
Her shot put career really got going when she won a silver medal at the 2001 World Youth Championships in Hungary.
“That was my first time going out of the USA and seeing other athletes who do the same thing I do. I really enjoyed it and thought ‘I could see myself doing this for a long time,'” she told Athletics Weekly.
4. Her First & Current Coach Is Her Father, Michael Carter
Michael Carter was a member of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty that dominated the NFL in the 1980s, as part of the teams that won the Super Bowl in 1985, 1989 and 1990. He won the silver medal in shot put at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, so he’s the only athlete to win both a Super Bowl ring and an Olympic medal within 12 months.
Carter told IAFF.org that her father was her first coach and still coaches her.
“He’s stern, but is a big believer in hard work,” she said. “I won more high school titles than Dad but he won more NCAA titles. Overall he wins, because he has the Olympic silver medal and to definitely beat him I need to win Olympic gold.”
In an interview with NBC Sports at the Olympic trials, Michael Carter says that he tells his children that, to succeed, “They want to work harder and be diligent in what you do, and don’t give up. You don’t quit. Even though you’re going through tough times, you still have to push forward.”
Her sister, D’Andra, won the 2008 NCAA bronze medal in discus and also reached the Olympic trials. She also has a brother, Michael Carter Jr.
5. She Runs a Sports-Confidence Camp Called ‘You Throw Girl’
In addition to her makeup business, Carter also runs a sports-confidence camp for girls called You Throw Girl. The camp hopes to help female athletes build their confidence to compete.
Carter, who once posed in ESPN The Magazine‘s body issue, is all about promoting confidence and feeling good while competing.
“When you wake up each morning, brush your teeth, shower and put on nice clothes, it sets the tone for the day,” Carter told Spikes. “I want to make sure I’m looking my best because it gives me a boost of energy. If I look my best, I perform to my best.”
Carter has succeeded at almost every level of shot put. She won gold at the 2016 World Indoor Championships and has bronze medals from the 2011 Pan American Games, the 2015 World Championships and the 2012 World Indoor Championships. She set a personal best mark in Portland in March with 20.21-meter.
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