Jim Meyer - 2017 Connecticut Masters' Games Athlete of the Year
Jim Meyer’s track and field career began in 1975 when he competed in multiple events in the Metro Hartford YMCA Track League. He was introduced to the sport by his father, Paul, who was a former track and field athlete at Yale University. Three of Jim’s brothers also competed in throwing events in high school and college. In 1980 he enrolled at East Catholic High School where he joined the Track & Field team, competing in shotput and discus. By his senior year, Jim was named the captain of both the indoor and outdoor track and field. He went on to place 4th in the Indoor and 8th at the Outdoor Track and Field State Open Championships.
Jim continued on to the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. where he participated as a Division 1 Athlete - competing in the shotput, discus, weight throw, and hammer events. After receiving numerous awards, he was again named captain of both the indoor and outdoor track team his senior year. He missed the school shotput record by less than two inches before his senior season ended due to injury. Later, in the outdoor season, he won a conference championship in the hammer and competed in the prestigious Penn Relays – an event that attracts more athletes than any other track and field meet in the world.
Jim never lost his love for competing throughout the years. He continued to throw after college until his late 30’s when he was sidelined by a back injury for two years. In 2009 he introduced his two children Eric (Age 7) and Veronica (Age 9) to the sport of throwing and the three of them continue to compete together to this day. At 50 he took up the javelin throw in order to compete in pentathlons (Shotput, Weight Throw, Discus, Javelin and Hammer). Jim finished the 2017 season ranked top ten in the U.S. in three events and top 20 in the U.S. in two events. Jim started competing in the Nutmeg State Games in 1985. When younger age divisions were implemented at the CT Masters’ Games five years ago, Jim registered to compete and has returned every year since. Jim has competed in the Nutmeg Games and CT Masters’ Games collectively for 33 years! The collection of medals – almost all Gold - that he has amassed in that time is quite impressive when you take in to account that he also competes in multiple USATF and Masters meets in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts throughout the year. Known to be a fierce competitor, continually striving for his own personal best, he takes the time at competitions to encourage, offer advice, and acknowledges others with their successful throws.
Many people are quick to praise Jim for his hard work and personal accomplishments out on the field, and he is just as highly thought of off the field. It is well known in the Middletown community how much time he volunteers at his local athletic track and field program. Jim started his involvement when his daughter was in middle school, volunteering as the throws coach. Since then he has produced four Middle School State Champions – three in discus and one in shotput, in addition to several more top five finishers. Jim also has worked with the Middletown High School team and their throwers. It is said that Jim is always ready to volunteer or help out with the program, whether that means helping to run a local event, or providing transportation to the kids for events that are further away. Jim has offered beginner throws clinics, working with his children and adults alike throughout their amateur careers to ensure that they are learning the proper techniques for something that he has mastered himself. He enjoys competing at the Nutmeg State Games because he can compete side by side with his children, along with the other young throwers he has introduced to the sport.
His peers will tell you that he is always encouraging adults and children alike. That the joy and dedication he brings to the sport when he is competing or helping others is visibly apparent on the field. They will tell you, and we agree, that as a competitor, he has been very successful throughout the years and his display of sportsmanship, his willing to share that love of sport and determination to grow that sport are all reasons he is truly deserving of the CT Masters’ Games – Presented by OPTUM Care – Athlete of the Year Award!