The hammer throw was first contested by men at the 1900 Olympic Games and by women at the 2000 Olympic Games.


The hammer throw can be traced back to the Tailteann Games held in Tara, Ireland in 1839 BC, where the Celtic warrior Culchulainn is said to have gripped a chariot wheel by its axle, spinned it around his head and threw it a far distance. Ancient Tautonic tribes practised forms of the event at religious festivals honoring the God Thor.

As the sport evolved wheel hurling was replaced by throwing a boulder attached to a wooden handle. In the 19th century the hammer throw grew to become a regular part of track and field competitions in England, Scotland, and Ireland.The hammers were then replaced with forged irons of no prescribed weight and handles that varied from 94-104cm in length. In 1875 the English standardized the event by establishing the weight of the hammer at 7,25 kg (16-pounds) and the length at 106.68 cm (3’6 feet) and by requiring that it be thrown from a circle 2 meter in diameter.

According to legend, the sport derives its name from a 16th century drawing showing King Henry VIII throwing a blacksmith’s sledgehammer.

How it works:

Athletes throw a metal ball (7.26kg for men, 4kg for women) attached to a grip by a steel wire no longer than 1.22m while remaining inside a 2.135m diameter circle. The thrower usually makes three or four spins before releasing the ball. Athletes will commonly throw four or six attempt per competition.

In order for the throw to be measured, the ball must land inside a marked 35-degree sector and the athlete must not leave the circle before it has landed, and then only from the rear half of the circle.

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