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The modern or Olympic hammer throw is an athletic throwing event where the object to be thrown is a heavy steel ball attached with wire (maximum 4 ft (1.22 m) to a handle. The name hammer throw is derived from older competitions where in fact a hammer was thrown. Such competitions are still part of the Scottish Highland Games, where the implement used is a steel or lead weight at the end of a cane handle.
Like other throwing events, the competition is decided by who can throw the ball the farthest. Competitors gain maximum distance by winding the 16 lb (7.257 kg) hammer (4 kg or 8.82 lb for the women's hammer) around their head to set up the start of the turns. Then they apply force and pick up speed by completing 1-4 turns in the circle. The competitive number is 3-4 turns. The ball moves in an elliptical path with a high point toward the sector and the low point at the back of the circle. The thrower releases the ball from the front of the circle. The two most important factors for a far throw are the angle of release and the speed of the ball. While the men's hammer throw has been in the Olympic Games since 1900, the IAAF did not start ratifying women's marks until 1995. Women's hammer throw was first included in the Olympics at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, after having been included in the World Championships a year earlier.
The current world record for the men's hammer was set by Yuriy Sedykh who threw 86.74 m at the European athletics championships held in Stuttgart, West Germany in 1986.
The current world record for the women's hammer was set by Tatyana Lysenko who threw 77.06 m in Moscow on 15 July 2005. Lysenko improved the world record on 24 June 2006 with 77.41 m in Zhukovskiy, and again in Tallinn, Estonia on 15 August, where she threw 77.80 m.
Categories: Events in athletics | Athletics | Individual sports