There are four different throwing events included in athletics competition which require athletes to demonstrate power, strength and accuracy. The four events are: the hammer, the discus, the javelin and the shot put.
The ‘hammer’ is an extremely heavy metal ball weighing 7.2kg which is attached to a handle by a steel wire. The hammer event requires the contestant to have extreme strength and excellent technique, in order to throw the metal ball across the field. When making the throw the contestant must stand within a designated area, marked by a circle. If the athlete steps out of the circle during the throw or before the hammer lands, the throw is classified as a fail.
Record Breakers: Men: Yuriy Sedykh (URS) – 86.74 m, 30/08/1986
Women: Mihaela Melinte (ROM) – 76.07 m, 29/08/1999
Making use of a spinning technique to bring about speed and strength, the discus requires the athlete to throw a disc shaped object across the field as far as possible. The athlete must begin the throw from a stationary position but there are no specified requirements for the method used to throw the discus. To make the throw the athlete stands within a circle marked on the ground and is forbidden to leave the circle before the discus has landed. If the contestant steps on or outside the circle, the throw is classified as a fail.
Record Breakers: Men: Jurgen Schult (GDR) – 74.08 m, 06/06/1986
Women: Gabriele Reinsch (GDR) – 76.80 m, 09/07/1988
The Javelin combines speed with great strength, requiring the athlete to throw a long spiked pole as far as possible across the field. The javelin has a grip, part way along the pole, which the athlete must hold on to when throwing. The javelin is thrown by an arm extended backwards, being thrown over the shoulder or upper part of the arm. For the throw to count, the javelin must land with the tip (front part of the javelin) hitting the ground before the tail (back part of the javelin) If the athlete turns their back to the throwing line during the throw or crosses the line during or after the throw, the throw is classified as a fail.
Record Breakers: Men: Jan Zelezny (CZE) – 98.48 m, 25/05/1996
Women: Osleidys Menendez (CUB) – 71.4 m, 01/07/2001
Requiring perhaps more strength than any other athletic event, the shot put requires the athlete to throw an extremely heavy ball across a specified distance by transferring leg strength up through the arms. The athlete is required to begin the throw from a stationary position within a marked circle and must throw the shot using one hand only. The contestant is disqualified if they leave the marked circle before the shot has touched the ground.
Record Breakers: Men: Randy Barnes (USA) – 23.12 m, 20/05/1990
Women: Natalya Lisovskaya (URS) – 22.63 m, 07/06/1987