One of the great characters in the professional wrestling ranks who was also an outstanding shot putter – Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart – passed away on 13 August at age 63.
Neidhart fell in his home and died shortly thereafter.
He was a well-known professional wrestler and part of the Hart Foundation tag team – with Bret Hart – that won the WWE Tag Team title and spent more than 20 years in the ring. He trained with legendary wrestling guru Stu Hart – Bret’s father – and married Elizabeth Hart, Stu’s daughter and Bret’s sister.
The couple had three children, including current WWE wrestler Natalya.
But Neidhart started as a shot putter at Newport Harbor High School in California, winning the California State meet in 1973 and throwing a State record 69-3 3/4 with the 12-lb. shot that year.
He went on to UCLA and reached 19.85 m (65-1 1/2) in 1975, but was thrown off the team in 1976 after wrecking a room at the Berkeley Marina Marriott (since renamed) following a poor performance at the Pac-8 Championships at Stanford. While competing with the Bruins, he always told teammates that his career goal was to be a professional wrestler. He did it, and with style.