Who is Steve Solomon?
by Will Brodie
July 17, 2012
Steven Solomon won bronze in the 400 metres at the world junior championships. Photo: Getty Images
The young athlete unwittingly drawn into the John Steffensen selection saga is a rapidly improving, chocolate-loving, 19-year-old Twitter novice who has just won a bronze medal at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona.
Steve Solomon was chosen ahead of Steffensen to run in the individual 400 metres at the Olympic Games despite being defeated by the controversial veteran at the national titles.
The Sydneysider honoured a promised to join Twitter once he was selected for the Olympics, but is yet to address the controversy raging after Steffensen attacked the selection at the weekend. That was probably because he was too busy running a personal best in the 400 metres and anchoring the national 4x400 metre relay team to fourth place in Barcelona.
Steven Solomon’s father Michael told the Jewish J-Wire website from Barcelona: "He so much deserves the medal. He worked so hard at getting this result and we could not be happier for him.
"The Olympics is a dream come true, what more can we say. In two-and-a-half years he has gone from winning a school competition to winning a bronze at the world juniors and now an Olympian too.”
Solomon himself is thrilled by his current form.
"It was a new personal best, in a world championship final, after running two quick rounds. The bronze medal was the highlight. It shows true value and acts as a recognition for all the hard training and preparation both my coach and I have put in."
Athletics identity David Culbert tweeted that Solomon is "pretty fly for a white guy" following his selection. He told SEN radio that Solomon is "the future" for Australian athletics, saying "he is in the best form of his life".
High jumper Brendon Starc describes him as an "amazing athlete and all round top bloke."
A former soccer and rugby player as a child, Solomon was captain of the Australian junior football side at the 2009 Maccabiah Games.
Solomon didn't receive any formal athletics training until 2009, despite starring in school sport as a teenager. In 2010, he broke a 27-year-old 400 metres record at the Australian All Schools meet.
He has knocked more than a second off his best time for the 400 metres since 2010, his personal best now 45.52, achieved in his bronze-medal winning effort in Spain four days ago.
His run for the relay team yesterday was estimated at 44.6 seconds.
Lauded within the Jewish community and named the Maccabi NSW Junior Sportsman of the Year, he made Australian athletics notice his talents in 2011 when he won the 400 metrs at the Melbourne Track Classic at Olympic Park, defeating a high-class field that included Steffensen and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sean Wroe.
Solomon is keen to study medicine at Stanford University as his father did.