From Budweiser Man to Olympic Boxer

Not to be overlooked in all the Hoelzer hullabaloo is another remarkable Alabama athlete, Deontay Wilder.

He’s the U.S. heavyweight boxer who hails from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Roll Tide!). His is one of those classic Olympic stories that always has Eyegal reaching for the Kleenix; one moment he’s working at Red Lobster and driving a Budweiser truck to help support his young daughter born with spina bifida, and in the next, he’s gunning for gold in Beijing.

THT’s Mark McCarter is johnny-on-the-spot per usual with a nice profile, and Alabama Public Radio has done a good piece as well.

Deontay got off to a good start today winning his first match, and at 6’7” with a body covered in tattoos, he’s having the time of his life in Beijing–people think he’s LeBron James.

Other U.S. Olympic athletes with Alabama ties include Birmingham native and Vestavia Hills High grad Trey Hardee in the decathlon, plus Aretha Thurmond (discus) and Kristin Heaston (shot put), both of whom live and train in Auburn.

If anyone is aware of any other athletes with Alabama ties, please do tell. If you’re interested in who is competing from your state, here’s a good source.