Willie Gault, age 55, is USA Track & Field’s athlete of the week

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As a Bears and Raiders wide receiver in the 1980s and 1990s, Willie Gault was one of the fastest players in the NFL. Now Gault is 55 years old. And he’d still beat a lot of NFL players in a footrace.

Gault was named USA Track & Field’s athlete of the week this week after he set new world records in his age group in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.

At the Oxy Invite in Los Angeles on Saturday, Gault ran an 11.30-second 100-meter dash and a 23.24-second 200-meter dash. The previous world records for men age 55 or older were 11.44 seconds in the 100 and 23.36 seconds in the 200. Gault previously set world records in the 45-49 age group and the 50-54 age group.

Gault was always a multi-sport athlete and may have been better at track than football: He was a member of the 1980 Summer Olympics team that was kept home from the Games in Moscow when the U.S. boycotted, and in 1983 he came in third place in the world championships in the 110-meter hurdles. At the same world championships, he and teammates Emmit King, Calvin Smith and Carl Lewis broke the 4×100-meter relay world record. He was also an alternate in the bobsled in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

In 11 NFL seasons, Gault caught 333 passes for 6,635 yards and 44 touchdowns. He led the Super Bowl-winning 1985 Bears in both receiving yards and kickoff return yards.

41 responses to “Willie Gault, age 55, is USA Track & Field’s athlete of the week

  1. Gault was a good player and he had a good career.

    I remember Gault’s 40 yard race with Darrell Green. I assumed Gault would win since he was a world class track guy. Green won easily and demonstrated his world class explosiveness. The NFL has some spectacular athletes that simply choose not to go the Olympic route.

  2. The Bears didn’t throw much in those days. Gault was good though. Had he played on those Air Coryell Chargers teams, he would have had much better numbers. That’s why it’s impossible to judge and compare players from one generation to the next, if you’re only looking at numbers.

  3. welcomehomelosangelesrams says:
    May 12, 2016 10:46 AM
    His stats are comparable to Lynn Swann, who for some reason is in the HOF:

    Swann: 336 rec, 5462 yds, 51 tds
    Gault: 333 rec, 6635 yds, 44 tds

    you make a couple ballerina type catches and apparently you’re good enough for the HOF..Swann is the ultimate horse clown

  4. welcomehomelosangelesrams says:
    May 12, 2016 10:46 AM
    His stats are comparable to Lynn Swann, who for some reason is in the HOF:

    Swann: 336 rec, 5462 yds, 51 tds
    Gault: 333 rec, 6635 yds, 44 tds
    _____________________

    Not only is Swann in the HOF but he played with HOFers while Willie put his numbers up in spite of never having even an average NFL quality QB throwing him the ball. McMahon, Schroeder and Hostetler…

  5. Yeah, wow! Well done, Willie! One of the greats from the 85 Bears… very happy to hear his story in 2016 is a positive & happy one!

  6. It takes him 100yds to run for 11.3 secs? Pah, that’s pathetic – I only need 5yds to run for that long!

  7. streetyson says:
    May 12, 2016 11:28 AM
    It takes him 100yds to run for 11.3 secs? Pah, that’s pathetic – I only need 5yds to run for that long!

    _________________________________________

    Hats off to you. I laughed out loud when I read this.

  8. Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame. Get over it. Not a great member; probably shouldn’t even be in there. But he had a way more notable career than Willie Gault, and his body of work is on par with recent receivers who’ve gotten in like Andre Reed and Tim Brown. Swann never had a 1,000-yard season, but was a different game back then. And he came up really big in big games. MVP of Super Bowl X, with 3 insanely historic catches, including the game-winning touchdown. Came back and scored big, game-altering touchdowns in two more Super Bowls. How many other players have caught touchdowns in three different Super Bowl wins?

  9. So often on the first play of the game the Raiders would throw a huge bomb to Gault when Schroeder was QB. Great deep threat

  10. I’d love to know what his 40 yard split was.
    Fwiw, as a young man Gault was also a very accomplished ballet dancer. His leaps were epic.

  11. djvh2 says:
    May 12, 2016 11:37 AM

    Does he know the Vikings are looking for WRs?

    ************************************

    Really? According to who? Packer fans?

    I think the Vikes are happy with their current group, and likely will have to cut some guys who will end up on other rosters.

  12. Better Together Fan says:
    May 12, 2016 12:00 PM

    Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame. Get over it. Not a great member; probably shouldn’t even be in there. But he had a way more notable career than Willie Gault, and his body of work is on par with recent receivers who’ve gotten in like Andre Reed and Tim Brown. Swann never had a 1,000-yard season, but was a different game back then. And he came up really big in big games. MVP of Super Bowl X, with 3 insanely historic catches, including the game-winning touchdown. Came back and scored big, game-altering touchdowns in two more Super Bowls. How many other players have caught touchdowns in three different Super Bowl wins?

    Body of work is on par with Andre Reed and Tim Brown?

    Swann- 336 catches, 5462 yards, 51tds
    Reed-951 catches, 13,198 yards, 88 td’s
    Brown-1094 catches, 14,934 yards, 100 tds

    Oh, and by the way..making “Historic” catches when they didn’t need to be historic catches does NOT make you a HOF’er. Swann was the master of trying to make an ordinary catch look spectacular.

  13. Didnt have an world beating 40 or 60 time ( his loss to Darrell Green was 60 yards ) but man did he have a 2nd gear. Once he got going he was untouchable. Check out the youtube vids where he raced against other elite athletes, he had that Usain Bolt type run away from everyone thing going on.

  14. “Still as smooth as a chocolate swirl!”

    But does he still dance a little funky?

    Can’t get the SBS out of my head.

    And no mention yet of how he tried out for the Olympic bobsled team when they ruled he couldn’t compete in track (it was amateurs only then and I think they ruled his football career made him a professional runner – though my memory might be messed up.)

    He was an alternate on the bobsled team but didn’t participate in the Olympics, I believe.

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