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Charles Austin      

Olympic Gold Medalist & American High Jump Record Holder

Charles Austin has achieved a level of success of which most people can only dream. He coached himself to become an Olympic gold medalist, the Olympic and American high jump record holder, a two-time World Champion, World Cup Champion, he won six consecutive national outdoor championships, three national indoor championships, jumped 22 inches over his height and is inducted into the U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame. At 36 years of age, Austin won his last indoor national championship setting an age group indoor world record with a jump of 2.30m (7’ 6 ½”). Charles has held the current American Record 2.40m (7’ 10 ½) since 1991, the current Olympic Record 2.39m (7’ 10”) since 1996 and he set the Master’s 45 – 50 World High Jump Record with a jump of 2.05m (6’ 8 ¾”) in 2014. Also, he is one of only two high jumpers in history that have won the Olympics, Outdoor World Championship, Indoor World Championship and World Cup Championship. Austin is also one of only two high jumpers to win and establish the championship records in both the Outdoor World Championship and Olympics Games. Also, he has the highest combined average height for the two championships.

Born in Bay City, Texas in 1967, Austin was the youngest of 10 children. He was a senior in high school without any way to pay for college, when some friends convinced him to try high jumping for the track team. Teaching himself how to high jump, he cleared six feet on his first try to make the team and finished the year with a personal best of 2.11m (6’ 11”). Austin’s success landed him an athletic scholarship at Southwest Texas University (now Texas State University). After a difficult first few years, he climbed the ranks in the NCAA, shattering school records and his senior year, he jumped a personal best of 2.35m (7’ 8 ½”), a conference championship record, and won the 1990 NCAA Outdoor Championship with a jump of 2.33m (7’ 7 ¾”).

In 1991, Austin graduated with a degree in business administration. Coaching himself, within five years after his senior year of high school, he set the current American High Jump Record with a jump of 2.40m (7’ 10 ½”) and was the gold medalist at the 1991 World Championship equaling the championship record. The following year, 1992, he was a contender to win in the Olympics. However, when he arrived at the 1992 Olympic trials there was speculation on whether or not he should compete, due to a knee injury. He pushed forward, making it on to the U.S. team, but finished in a disappointing eighth place.

The trouble continued, forcing Austin to have major surgery where half of his patellar tendon was removed. Being told he his athletic career was over; he was left to watch from home as his fellow athletes competed in the 1993 World Championship with Sotomayor breaking his championship record. Motivated more than ever, Austin began his rehabilitation process by himself at his home using resistance bands. In 1994, he began his journey back to the top of the world high jump ranks with a jump of 2.31m (7’ 7”), the eleventh highest jump in the world that year. In 1995 he went even higher with a jump of 2.34m (7’ 8”), the fifth highest jump in the world that year. With his newfound confidence, he approached his preparation for the following year with a level of commitment like never before.

When he returned to the Olympics in 1996, he did so with a new level determination and mental focus. With only three remaining in the competition and Austin sitting in the silver medal position with only one jump remaining in the competition, he passed to the next height and went for it all. His gold winning jump of 2.39m (7’ 10’’) was a new Olympic record and still stands today. His performance is considered one of the greatest in Olympic Track & Field history.

In 2002, Austin started So High Sports & Fitness, an 800 square feet personal training studio. In August of 2007 he broke ground and in February 2008, he opened the So High Sports & Fitness Performance Center, a 12,000 square feet sports and fitness center that sets on approximately two acres. He works with individuals of all ages looking to improve their level of fitness, with younger athletes where a very high percentage moved on to receiving scholarships to compete at the collegiate level, professional athletes including David Robinson, John Starks, Allan Houston and many others.

After retiring from professional track and field, Austin self-published his book titled “Head Games: Life’s Greatest Challenge”. In his book, "Head Games: Life’s Greatest Challenges" (September 2007), Austin reveals the battles fought and victories won throughout his career as a professional athlete. He shares the roadmap he followed to achieve his goals and offers advice for others hoping to achieve their goals. Charles's book is also in the Library of Congress.

In 2015, Austin ventured into the fitness equipment arena. He received his first patent for his Total Body Board and in 2019 he received his second patent for his Total Body Rack. Both are pieces of fitness equipment. Some of the professional sports teams that purchased his Total Body Board are the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets. Also, the Total Body Board was purchased by many collegiate sports teams such as the Univ. of Alabama, Univ. of Maryland, Iowa State, Cal Berkeley and VCU. Others that have purchased the Total Body Board are Walter Reed Medical Center, physical therapy clinics, high schools, home consumers, Watergate Hotel in D.C. and the 308 Airforce Rescue Squadron.

Austin lives in San Marcos, Texas with his wife, Nathalie Austin and has three sons, Camron Austin, Allex Austin and Christian Austin.

Speech Topics

Things You Can Control

In life there are three things that you can control and they are: What you think, What you do and What you say.

Love For Self

You have one person in life that matters most and that's you!

What Takes To Win

Every day you wake up, your goal for that day is to be better than you were the previous day in some aspect of life.

Overcoming Adversity

Most people look at adversity as a problem or in a negative manner. Adversity is an opportunity to grow and become better if you keep a positive outlook.


When it comes to achieving goals, success or just growing as an individual, your mindset is key.

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