KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In a new book called Southview to Gettysvue, a Knoxville author shares his story of humble beginnings in coal country to the Olympics to big business success.
“I was prepared to do what was normally considered the norm,” Bill Schmidt told us. “Go to work in the coal mills, get married, have a family, move on with your life and go from there.”
Bill Schmidt didn’t do any of that. Instead, he trained hard and brought home the bronze for the Javelin throw in the 1972 Olympics.
“Everyone sees the fanfare,” Schmidt said, “and the end result. They don’t see the hours of training, the hours of dedication, the hours of sacrifice. You sacrifice a lot.”
Ten years after the Olympics he found himself in a groundbreaking role: sports marketing for the World’s Fair here in Knoxville.
“Having a post-graduate scholarship to the University of Tennessee which gave me the opportunity to be here in Knoxville, coincidentally they had a World’s Fair. They needed someone to put together sporting events and that started a career of sports marketing,” he said.
He donated his World’s Fair memorabilia to the East Tennessee Historical Society.
“As I look back, and people that weren’t aware of the fair or weren’t here, it’s incredible that Knoxville pulled that off. It’s unbelievable.”
Schmidt went on to be Vice President of Sports at the 1984 LA Olympic games, followed by VP of Marketing at Gatorade, signing Michael Jordan as spokesman.
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We asked what he wants people to get from his book:
“It’s reunited me with friends but it’s also given me an opportunity to possibly inspire somebody else as well as motivate, so that’s probably the key for, as the end result, writing this book.”
‘Southview to Gettysvue’ is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. An audiobook is coming out soon.