American George Woods, who competed in three Olympic Games and won a silver medal at Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972, has died at the age of 79 ©Getty Images

The United States' two-time Olympic shot put silver medallist George Woods has died at the age of 79.

Woods competed at the Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976 Olympic Games.

After winning the US Olympic track and field team trials in 1968, he was overtaken by fellow American shot putter Randy Matson at Mexico City, settling for the silver medal with a put of 20.12 metres behind Matson's Olympic record of 20.54m.

Four years later in 1972, he again entered the Games as the US Olympic trials champion and the favourite for Olympic gold.

He came close but was again denied Olympic gold.

Wladyslaw Komar, a virtual unknown from Poland, set an Olympic record at 21.18m on his first throw.

Woods responded, steadily and methodically, reaching 21.17m in the fourth round.

While Komar never approached his opening effort throughout the series, Woods could not pick up the final centimetre on his remaining throws and had to settle for another silver medal.

Woods again won the US trials in 1976 but finished seventh at the Olympics in a competition won by East Germany’s Udo Beyer.

George Woods, left, broke the world indoor record for the shot put five times in 1974 ©Getty Images
George Woods, left, broke the world indoor record for the shot put five times in 1974 ©Getty Images

Woods, winner of the US indoor shot put title five times, set six world indoor records, with five of them coming in 1974.

His best performance of 22.02m, set in Inglewood in California, stood as a world record for 11 years and still ranks him 14th on the all-time list.

While at Southern Illinois University (SIU), Woods was the 1966 National Collegiate Athletic Association indoor shot put champion.

He was ranked in the world top 10 on six occasions by the American magazine Track & Field News, and number one in 1972.

Woods was inducted to the United States Track & Field National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2007

After his athletics career finished, Woods joined the SIU as admissions counsellor and academic advisor.

Woods leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Jean, his son Andrew and daughter Lisa Hankins.

Woods died on August 30 and was buried at Wood Lawn Cemetery in Edwardsville in Illinois on September 7.