2023 TRACK & FIELD INDUCTEE
The modern Olympic Games have always featured track & field. Known as “athletics,” it dates back to 1896. Exactly 100 years later, in the summer of 1996, Todd Riech became a part of Olympic history.
Riech grew up in Hot Springs, Montana. A small town of only a few hundred people, there were approximately 65 students in his high school! He was his school’s track & field team, single-handedly winning enough events as both a junior and a senior to win back to back state championships.
Because of his success in multiple events, Todd Riech was recruited as a decathlete. However, a hip injury forced him to just focus on the javelin when he enrolled at Fresno State.
Riech thrived with the Bulldogs. A four-time all-American, he broke the NCAA record in the javelin as a senior in 1994, throwing it 266′ 9″ (81.30m) to win an NCAA title. He then followed that up by winning a national title two weeks later at the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
In 1995, Todd Riech competed in the Pan American Games in Argentina. He won the bronze medal in the javelin, which set the stage for the Olympic trials one year later. Riech set a new personal best at the trials, 268′ 6″ (81.86m), to qualify for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
He finished in 17th place that summer, representing both the United States and Native Americans everywhere, as Todd Riech is a proud member of both the Salish and the Kootenai tribes.
He just missed out on qualifying for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, but he did get to watch his son, Nate, win a Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo in 2021 in the 1500-meter run.