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Discus Star Ben Plucknett Dies

November 19, 2002

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SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) _ Ben Plucknett, one of the great American discus throwers who twice set the world record in 1981, died at his home. He was 48.

He died Sunday but the cause was not available. His death was confirmed by the University of Missouri, where he starred in track and field in the 1970s, and the Nunnelee Funeral Chapel of Sikeston.

Plucknett set the world discus record of 237 feet, 4 inches on July 7, 1981, in Stockholm, Sweden, according to USA Track & Field, governing body for the sport in the U.S.

His showing in Stockholm broke his first world record, a throw of 233-7 set in Modesto, Calif., on May 16, 1981.

Plucknett’s world record was broken by a 243-foot throw in 1986 by Jurgen Schult of Germany. Plucknett’s mark of 237-4, however, still stands as the top discus performance by a U.S. athlete.

``A testament to his greatness is how long the U.S. record has been in place. It’s very, very impressive. He is one of the greatest throwers this country has produced,″ USA Track & Field spokesman Tom Surber said Tuesday from Indianapolis.

Plucknett was born in Beatrice, Neb. At 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds when competing, Plucknett qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team but did not participate because of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow games. He finished fourth in the 1988 Olympic trials, just short of qualifying for the U.S. team in Seoul.

He lettered in track and field at Missouri from 1973-76. In 2001, Plucknett was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.

The funeral home had no immediate information on survivors or funeral arrangements.

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