According to Guinness World Records, as of May 2014, the world record for the shot put is 23.12 meters, or 75 feet, 10.23 inches. Randy Barnes set the record at the Jack in the Box Invitational track meet in Los Angeles on May 20, 1990, at the age of 23.

Prior to breaking the record of 23.06 meters held by East Germany's Ulf Timmermann, Barnes won the Silver Medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. After being banned from the 1992 Olympic Games for testing positive for an illegal substance, Barnes took home the Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with a 21.62 meter throw. After testing positive again in 1998, Barnes was banned from Olympic competition for life.