7 DECEMBER 1974 Star shot-putter Manolo Martínez is born in León

Manuel Martínez Gutiérrez at a photo shoot on the beach.
Manuel Martínez Gutiérrez at a photo shoot on the beach. / SUR
  • The Spaniard won bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics and has also been the World and European Indoor Champion

Described as a "gentle giant", Manuel Martínez Gutiérrez, better known as Manolo Martínez, is an ex-world champion at shot put.

Born in León, Spain, on December 7th 1974, he dominated Spanish shot put throughout the entirety of his career.

By the tender age of seventeen he had established himself as a junior athlete on an international level.

Winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in South Korea in 1992, he then went on to become the European Junior Champion the following year.

Martínez Gutiérrez had many successes throughout his time as a professional athlete.

His main career highlights came in the form of his win in the 2002 European Indoor Championships and then going on to take the gold medal at the 2003 World Indoor Championships.

Every professional athlete dreams of competing in the Olympic Games. This came true for Martínez in Athens in 2004. However, not only did he compete, but he was also awarded the bronze medal position following an IAAF drug test which disqualified the first placed participant.

He represented Spain at the Olympics four times consecutively from 1996 to 2008, and also competed in five consecutive European Athletics Championships.

He participated in the shot put in every World Championship in Athletics from 1993 to 2009, with the only one exception being the 1999 event.

The star athlete was trained at CD Universidad León Atletismo club by Carlos Burón.

With his international career spanning 19 years, he was selected to represent his country 84 times, which is more than any other Spanish athlete.

The Gentle Giant has also been seen to improve Spanish national records in competition on 31 occasions throughout his career, which is an impressive feat for any professional athlete.

Outside of shot put, the Spanish athlete is a keen artist and actor, starring in the film Stigmata, directed by Adán Aliaga, and the 2011 film Capitán Trueno y el Santo Grial where he played the character Goliath.

A man of many talents, Manuel Martínez Gutíerrez has achieved much in the professional sporting world, as well as trying his hand in some more creative fields.