Brad Olson


One of the first to hear of Brad Olson’s Hall of Fame accolade was a man who knows the required love and labor to be a national-echelon hammer thrower, Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Travelers.

“Congratulations to Brad,” said Bessette, who placed first in the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials hammer throw. “This is a well-deserved honor, considering his success as an NCAA All American and all his accomplishments in track and field.”

Olson said participating in the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials and setting the 1979 NCAA Division II hammer record were his most memorable sports achievements. He’s in a rarefied echelon, as the only known Berlin High School graduate to have competed in a U.S. Olympic Trials.

Olson’s feats started in meets, where he typically finished first in the discus, shot put and javelin. His 178-foot, 10-inch javelin throw in 1975 remains a BHS record.

He focused on the hammer at Central Connecticut State University. “Brad was so dedicated as an athlete and really as a coach too, working constantly to improve,” said John Keleher who retired as CCSU track coach in 2002. “He’d shovel snow off the Arute Field circle and throw for hours.”

Olson still holds the CCSU hammer (64.49 meters) and weight throw (18.54 meters) records.

Such excellence continued in his distinguished career as an attorney. “What drove me was finding that I could dig deeper and push harder than most people and learning that I did my best under pressure,” said Olson, who lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife Marti. “Using those attributes led me to succeed as a patent attorney in Washington, D.C. Succeeding in this field is dependent on being able to work well and think fast under pressure.”

One memorable highlight was receiving the chivalric rank of Commander, Swedish Royal Order of the Northern Star in 2016 for achievements in promoting cultural and business exchange between the U.S. and Sweden.

After suffering a stroke last fall that limits the use of his right arm and hand and affects his speech, Olson has summoned traits that fueled many of his triumphs. “The drive to push myself over and over has significantly impacted success in rehab, where both short- and long-term goals are hard fought,” he said. “Physical/neurological rehab is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

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