Roald Bradstock is a two-time British Olympic athlete (’84, ’88) and a record setting three-time Olympic artist (2000, ’18 & 21). He is known in the media as “The Olympic Picasso” because of his ideas, programmes, artwork and antics that show the connection between sport and the arts and promote the Olympic ideals and values. He is the Chair of the World Olympians Association (WOA) Arts Committee (OLY Arts), a member of the Olympic Culture & Heritage Commission and is the Executive Director of the Al Oerter Foundation which runs the global Art of the Olympians (AOTO) organization (100+ Olympian and Paralympian artists) and educational programme.
Roald, who is now in his 60s, and a competitive master’s athlete (javelin) with over 50 past and present National, Commonwealth, European and World Records under his belt began his athletic journey in 1968 at the age of 6 when he watched the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. He knew then he wanted to be an Olympic javelin thrower and was only made more determined after he was diagnosed with Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus just a few months later.
Roald has used his creativity throughout his entire life to reach his athletic goals. He developed a very unique, unorthodox and unconventional throwing technique and training regime that helped him reach his potential while navigating around his physical limitations from his birth defect to now his ever-increasing age-related issues. He has competed in approximately 750 competitions, over half a century and has thrown over 6 million times – and that a conservative estimate! The videos of his competitions, training and artistic pursuits have millions of hits on his YouTube channel.
Roald’s other full time, lifelong and seemingly polar opposite pursuit is as an artist. For most of his life his athletic career was in direct competition for his time and energy with his artistic ambitions. But in recent years Roald has managed to blend his two passions together on and off the field. His international award-winning sports and Olympic themed artwork has been exhibited and is collected around the world.
Instagram – @roaldbradstock
Twitter – @roald62
As part of The Art of Sporting Heritage month in February 2022, Roald Bradstock joined our Education Lead, Derek People for a special In Converstion.
Roald explores the creative connection between Sport and Art, and considers the opportunities it offers, reflecting on the original Olympic vision of Pierre de Coubertin, and the values and disciplines common to both athletes and artists.