News Release

LDS Shot Put Record Holder and Gold Medalist Looks Forward to the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics

Todd “The Hulk” Hodgetts, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was recently named Australian Male Para-athlete of the Year at the Australian Athletics Championships held 31 March to 3 April in Sydney. This is just the latest in a string of honours and accomplishments Todd has garnered in the last 18 years. 

His interest in shot put began when his brother brought home a shot put from high school when Todd was ten and encouraged him to try it.  Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was eight and already big for his age, Todd had already endured many years of bullying and psychological abuse.  Finding something he could excel at and receive accolades for, Todd applied his incredible work ethic to being the best in this sport, a status he achieved the first year he started when he set his first record at the White City Little Athletic Association meet in Launceston, Tasmania.

He continued to set records and win competitions.  In 2004 when he was just 16 he set a state record in the Tasmanian Athletics Championships.  He made the Australian national team in 2005, and by 2008 was the Australian Champion in shot put.  He continued winning and setting records in 2009 and 2012 at the Australian Athletics Championships, where he set a new world record. 

With these accomplishments, he qualified for the 2012 London Paralympics, where he won the gold medal in the Men’s Shot Put F20 event and set two world records. 

Todd moved to Melbourne in 2013, where he trains six days a week at the Victorian Institute of Sport as a scholarship holder.  His hard work continued to pay off.  In 2015 he won the Men’s Shot Put F20 championship at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar and set a new world championship record of 15.83 metres. 

He broke his own F20 shot put world record by 9 cm in February this year at the Hobart Briggs Athletics Classic with a 16.33 metre throw and followed this up two weeks later with another record-breaking throw of 16.59 metres at the Victorian Championship Meet in Melbourne.

Todd’s next stop is the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in September.  He has been nominated for the Australian team and is “really going to enjoy defending my title in Rio. I just want to do my best and hopefully do something special," an ominous warning to his competitors.  “I feel like I’ve got another metre in me at least,” Todd said.  

In addition to his many hours spent training every week, Todd works at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) Venue Operations and is also studying to become a massage therapist.  He now holds the F20 shot-put world record and is the reigning Paralympic and World Champion. Todd is a member of the Yarra Glen Ward (congregation), where he serves as an usher and the Young Single Adult representative.

Left to right: Todd's Aunt Molly, Todd, his Mum, and his Uncle Howard at the Hamilton NZ Temple Vistors Centre

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