2002 Hall of Fame Inductee
As a young boy in his homeland of Argentina, Tito Steiner was already practicing his high jump. Stretching a piece of rope between two poles in his front yard, Tito would run as fast as he could and high-jump it scissors style.
Inspired by Bill Toomey’s 1968 performance at the Mexico Olympics, Steiner began serious decathlon training when he was 16.
Years later, after many competitions and much training, he decided to come to BYU. It took encouragement from another great BYU decathlete, Raimo Pihl, and a scholarship, but finally Tito enrolled.
The decathlon is described as the ultimate test for an athlete. Competitors throw the shot put, the javelin, and the discuss; they run the hurdles, the 100 and 400-meters and the 1,500-meters; they long jump, high jump, and pole vault. The event demands many unrelated skills—all of which Tito possessed, along with the speed, power, heart, and endurance necessary to succeed.
Before coming to BYU he participated in the 1975 Pan American Games, where he finished fourth; he also competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where he placed 12th. Six months later in 1977, Steiner won his first NCAA title as a Cougar—and All-America honors—with 7,659 points.
His second year at the NCAA Championships brought a third-place finish and another All-America honor.
In 1979 Steiner dashed a 16-year-old NCAA record at the Texas Relays by scoring 8,124 points to eclipse the 8,089 point standard set by UCLA’s C.K. Yang in 1963. Steiner also won his second NCAA championship, with a score of 7,918. Fittingly he was named Deseret News Athlete of the Month (April) and—for the third time—All-American.
Steiner redshirted in 1980 to train in Germany for the Moscow Olympic Games, but when Argentina joined the Olympic boycott, he spent the remainder of his redshirt year undergoing and recuperating from a knee operation.
Back at BYU for his final year, Tito had two goals in 1981: another NCAA title and a new NCAA record. He fulfilled both ambitions by winning his third NCAA decathlon title with a record 8,279 points. That mark not only eclipsed the 8,124 points he scored in April 1979 but also surpassed the NCAA meet record of 8,079 set by Raimo Pihl in 1976. Steiner became one of only a handful of Cougar athletes ever to earn All-American status in every year they competed.
Tito resides in Argentina with his wife Hildegard Malgay and has three children Hermann, Sabrine and Christofer.