One day after school in seventh grade, Michelle Carter came home and asked her parents if she could try the shot put. "You don't know what you're getting into," her father, Michael, replied. Growing up, Michelle and her younger siblings weren't too aware of their father's athletic prowess—to them he was Dad and not an Olympic shot put medalist and three-time Super Bowl champion nosetackle. But with Michael's support and occasional instruction, the two Carter girls have become, like their father, track and field champions. In 2006 while at Texas, Michelle won the NCAA indoor shot put title (she also competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing), and last month younger sister D'Andra, a senior at Texas Tech, won the NCAA discus crown. "I'm very proud," says Michael, who won seven indoor and outdoor NCAA shot put titles while at SMU from 1979 to '84.
This is an article from the July 13, 2009 issue
It's an anniversary-filled year for Carter, who 20 years ago in Miami had two tackles and a sack in the 49ers' 20--16 victory over the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII; 25 years ago he won the shot put silver at the '84 Summer Olympics; and 30 years ago he set the national high school shot put record of 81'3½", a distance no high schooler has come within five feet of since.
Carter, who retired in 1992 after nine seasons with the Niners, had a series of replacement surgeries in '08 (one for each knee and another for his right hip) that left him on crutches for a year. "Right now I'm just trying to get my body right," says Carter, 48, who lives in suburban Dallas with his wife of 25 years, Sandra. He founded the Texas Throwbacks, a club for young shot-putters and discus and javelin throwers—including his son, Michael Jr., who in March won the national junior college indoor shot put title as a freshman at South Plains College. Says Michael, "He's following in the same line as his dad and big sisters."