Javelin throw

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World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka - German javelin thrower Stephan Steding
Bregje Crolla during Europacup 2007

The javelin throw is a track and field event where the javelin, a spear about 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in length, is thrown. The javelin thrower gains momentum by running within a predetermined area. Javelin throwing is an event of both the men's decathlon and the women's heptathlon.

History[edit]

During the era between the Mycenaean times and the Roman Empire, the javelin was a commonly used offensive weapon. Being lighter than the spear, the javelin would be thrown rather than thrust and thus allowed long distance attacks against one’s enemy. Athletes, however, used javelins that were much lighter than military ones because the idea of the event was to demonstrate distance rather than penetration. The one major difference between the javelin of the ancient games and the javelin of more modern times is a leather thong, called an ankyle that was wound around the middle of the shaft. Athletes would hold the javelin by the thong and when the javelin released this thong unwound giving the javelin a spiraled flight.

The javelin throw has a particularly strong tradition in the Nordic nations of Europe. Of the 69 Olympic medals that have been awarded in the men's javelin, 32 have gone to competitors from Norway, Sweden or Finland. Finland is the only nation to have ever swept the medals at a currently recognized official Olympics, and has done so twice, in 1920 and 1932. (However, Sweden swept the first four places at the 1906 Intercalated Games. Finland's 1920 sweep also featured an additional fourth place finish. Sweeping the first four places is no longer possible, as only three entrants per country are allowed.) In 1912 Finland also swept the medals in the only appearance in the Olympics of two-handed javelin, an event in which the implement was separately thrown with both the right hand and the left hand and the marks were added together. Quite popular in Finland and Sweden at the time, this event soon faded into obscurity, together with similar variations of the shot and the discus.

Rules and competitions[edit]

The size, shape, minimum weight, and center of gravity of the javelin are all defined by IAAF rules. In international competition, men throw a javelin between 2.6 and 2.7 m (8 ft 6 in and 8 ft 10 in) in length and 800 g (28 oz) in weight, and women throw a javelin between 2.2 and 2.3 m (7 ft 3 in and 7 ft 7 in) in length and 600 g (21 oz) in weight. The javelin has a grip, about 150 mm (5.9 in) wide, made of cord and located at the javelin's center of gravity (0.9 to 1.06 m (2 ft 11 in to 3 ft 6 in) from the javelin tip for the men's javelin and 0.8 to 0.92 m (2 ft 7 in to 3 ft 0 in) from the javelin tip for the women's javelin).

Matti Järvinen throwing the javelin at the 1932 Olympics

Unlike the other throwing events (shotput, discus, and hammer), the technique used to throw the javelin is dictated by IAAF rules and "non-orthodox" techniques are not permitted. The javelin must be held at its grip and thrown overhand, over the athlete's shoulder or upper arm. Further, the athlete is prohibited from turning completely around such that his back faces the direction of throw. In practice, this prevents athletes from attempting to spin and hurl the javelin sidearm in the style of a discus throw. Instead of being confined to a circle, javelin throwers have a runway 4 m (13 ft) wide and at least 30 m (98 ft) in length, ending in a curved arc from which their throw will be measured; athletes typically use this distance to gain momentum in a "run-up" to their throw. Like the other throwing events, the competitor may not leave the throwing area (the runway) until after the implement lands. The need to come to a stop behind the throwing arc limits both how close the athlete can come to the line before the release as well as the maximum speed achieved at the time of release.

The javelin is thrown towards a "sector" covering an angle of 28.96 degrees extending outwards from the arc at the end of the runway. A throw is legal only if the tip of the javelin lands within this sector, and the tip strikes the ground before any other part of the javelin. The distance of the throw is measured from the throwing arc to the point where the tip of the javelin landed, rounded down to the nearest centimeter.

Competition rules are similar to other throwing events: a round consists of one attempt by each competitor in turn, and competitions typically consist of three to six rounds. The competitor with the longest single legal throw (over all rounds) is the winner; in the case of a tie the competitors' second-longest throws are also considered. Competitions involving large numbers of athletes sometimes use a "cut": all competitors compete in the first three rounds, but only athletes who are currently among the top eight or have achieved some minimum distances are permitted to attempt to improve on their distance in additional rounds (typically three).

Javelin redesigns[edit]

A Bulgarian javelin thrower, 1934

On 1 April 1986, the men's javelin (800 grams (1.76 lb)) was redesigned by the governing body (the IAAF Technical Committee). They decided to change the rules for javelin construction because of the increasingly frequent flat landings and the resulting discussions and protests when these attempts were declared valid or invalid by competition judges. The world record had also crept up to a potentially dangerous level, 104.80 m (343.8 ft) by Uwe Hohn. The javelin was redesigned so that the centre of gravity was moved 4 cm (1.6 in) forward, while the surface areas in front of and behind the centre of gravity were reduced and increased, respectively. This had the effect of reducing lift and increasing the downward pitching moment. This brings the nose down earlier, reducing the flight distance by around 10% but also causing the javelin to stick in the ground more consistently. In 1999, the women's javelin (600 grams (1.32 lb)) was similarly redesigned.[1]

Modifications that manufacturers made to recover some of the lost distance, by increasing tail drag (using holes, rough paint or dimples), were outlawed at the end of 1991 and marks made using implements with such modifications removed from the record books. Seppo Räty had achieved a world record of 96.96 m (318.1 ft) in 1991 with such a design, but this record was nullified.

Technique and training[edit]

Unlike other throwing events, javelin allows the competitor to build speed over a considerable distance. In addition to the core and upper body strength necessary to deliver the implement, javelin throwers benefit from the agility and athleticism typically associated with running and jumping events. Thus, the athletes share more physical characteristics with sprinters than with others, although they still need the skill of heavier throwing athletes.

Traditional free-weight training is often used by javelin throwers. Metal-rod exercises and resistance band exercises can be used to train a similar action to the javelin throw to increase power and intensity. Without proper strength and flexibility, throwers can become extremely injury prone, especially in the shoulder and elbow. Core stability can help in the transference of physical power and force from the ground through the body to the javelin. Stretching and sprint training are used to enhance the speed of the athlete at the point of release, and subsequently, the speed of the javelin. At release, a javelin can reach speeds approaching 113 km/h (70 mph).

Culture[edit]

Javelin throwers have been selected as a main motif in numerous collectors' coins. One of the recent samples is the €5 Finnish 10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics commemorative coin, minted in 2005 to commemorate the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. On the obverse of the coin, a javelin thrower is depicted. On the reverse, legs of hurdle runners with the Helsinki Olympic Stadium tower in the background can be seen.

A women's and a men's javelin

All-time top ten (current models)[edit]

Men[edit]

RankMarkAthletePlaceDate
198.48 Jan Železný (CZE)Jena1996-05-25
293.09 Aki Parviainen (FIN)Kuortane1999-06-26
392.61 Sergey Makarov (RUS)Sheffield2002-06-30
492.60 Raymond Hecht (GER)Oslo1995-07-21
591.69 Konstadinós Gatsioúdis (GRE)Kuortane2000-06-24
691.59 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)Oslo2006-06-02
791.53 Tero Pitkämäki (FIN)Kuortane2005-06-26
891.46 Steve Backley (GBR)Auckland1992-01-25
991.29 Breaux Greer (USA)Indianapolis2007-06-21
1090.73 Vadims Vasiļevskis (LAT)Tallinn2007-07-22

Women[edit]

RankMarkAthletePlaceDate
172.28 Barbora Špotáková (CZE)Stuttgart2008-09-13
271.99 Mariya Abakumova (RUS)Daegu2011-09-02
371.70 Osleidys Menéndez (CUB)Helsinki2005-08-14
470.20 Christina Obergföll (GER)Munich2007-06-23
569.48 Trine Hattestad (NOR)Oslo2000-07-28
669.35 Sunette Viljoen (RSA)New York2012-06-09
768.34 Steffi Nerius (GER)Elstal2008-08-31
867.67 Sonia Bisset (CUB)Salamanca2005-07-06
967.51 Miréla Manjani (GRE)Sydney2000-09-30
1067.20 Tatyana Shikolenko (RUS)Monaco2000-08-18

Olympic medalists[edit]

Men[edit]

GamesGoldSilverBronze
1908 London
details
 Eric Lemming (SWE) Arne Halse (NOR) Otto Nilsson (SWE)
1912 Stockholm
details
 Eric Lemming (SWE) Julius Saaristo (FIN) Mór Kóczán (HUN)
1920 Antwerp
details
 Jonni Myyrä (FIN) Urho Peltonen (FIN) Pekka Johansson (FIN)
1924 Paris
details
 Jonni Myyrä (FIN) Gunnar Lindström (SWE) Eugene Oberst (USA)
1928 Amsterdam
details
 Erik Lundqvist (SWE) Béla Szepes (HUN) Olav Sunde (NOR)
1932 Los Angeles
details
 Matti Järvinen (FIN) Matti Sippala (FIN) Eino Penttilä (FIN)
1936 Berlin
details
 Gerhard Stöck (GER) Yrjö Nikkanen (FIN) Kalervo Toivonen (FIN)
1948 London
details
 Tapio Rautavaara (FIN) Steve Seymour (USA) József Várszegi (HUN)
1952 Helsinki
details
 Cy Young (USA) Bill Miller (USA) Toivo Hyytiäinen (FIN)
1956 Melbourne
details
 Egil Danielsen (NOR) Janusz Sidło (POL) Viktor Tsybulenko (URS)
1960 Rome
details
 Viktor Tsybulenko (URS) Walter Krüger (EUA) Gergely Kulcsár (HUN)
1964 Tokyo
details
 Pauli Nevala (FIN) Gergely Kulcsár (HUN) Jānis Lūsis (URS)
1968 Mexico City
details
 Jānis Lūsis (URS) Jorma Kinnunen (FIN) Gergely Kulcsár (HUN)
1972 Munich
details
 Klaus Wolfermann (FRG) Jānis Lūsis (URS) Bill Schmidt (USA)
1976 Montreal
details
 Miklós Németh (HUN) Hannu Siitonen (FIN) Gheorghe Megelea (ROU)
1980 Moscow
details
 Dainis Kūla (URS) Aleksandr Makarov (URS) Wolfgang Hanisch (GDR)
1984 Los Angeles
details
 Arto Härkönen (FIN) David Ottley (GBR) Kenth Eldebrink (SWE)
1988 Seoul
details
 Tapio Korjus (FIN) Jan Železný (TCH) Seppo Räty (FIN)
1992 Barcelona
details
 Jan Železný (TCH) Seppo Räty (FIN) Steve Backley (GBR)
1996 Atlanta
details
 Jan Železný (CZE) Steve Backley (GBR) Seppo Räty (FIN)
2000 Sydney
details
 Jan Železný (CZE) Steve Backley (GBR) Sergey Makarov (RUS)
2004 Athens
details
 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR) Vadims Vasiļevskis (LAT) Sergey Makarov (RUS)
2008 Beijing
details
 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR) Ainārs Kovals (LAT) Tero Pitkämäki (FIN)
2012 London
details
 Keshorn Walcott (TRI) Oleksandr Pyatnytsya (UKR) Antti Ruuskanen (FIN)

Women[edit]

GamesGoldSilverBronze
1932 Los Angeles
details
 Babe Didrikson (USA) Ellen Braumüller (GER) Tilly Fleischer (GER)
1936 Berlin
details
 Tilly Fleischer (GER) Luise Krüger (GER) Maria Kwaśniewska (POL)
1948 London
details
 Herma Bauma (AUT) Kaisa Parviainen (FIN) Lily Carlstedt (DEN)
1952 Helsinki
details
 Dana Zátopková (TCH) Aleksandra Chudina (URS) Yelena Gorchakova (URS)
1956 Melbourne
details
 Inese Jaunzeme (URS) Marlene Ahrens (CHI) Nadezhda Konyayeva (URS)
1960 Rome
details
 Elvīra Ozoliņa (URS) Dana Zátopková (TCH) Birutė Kalėdienė (URS)
1964 Tokyo
details
 Mihaela Peneş (ROU) Márta Rudas (HUN) Yelena Gorchakova (URS)
1968 Mexico City
details
 Angéla Németh (HUN) Mihaela Peneş (ROU) Eva Janko (AUT)
1972 Munich
details
 Ruth Fuchs (GDR) Jacqueline Todten (GDR) Kate Schmidt (USA)
1976 Montreal
details
 Ruth Fuchs (GDR) Marion Becker (FRG) Kate Schmidt (USA)
1980 Moscow
details
 María Caridad Colón (CUB) Saida Gunba (URS) Ute Hommola (GDR)
1984 Los Angeles
details
 Tessa Sanderson (GBR) Tiina Lillak (FIN) Fatima Whitbread (GBR)
1988 Seoul
details
 Petra Felke (GDR) Fatima Whitbread (GBR) Beate Koch (GDR)
1992 Barcelona
details
 Silke Renk (GER) Natalya Shikolenko (EUN) Karen Forkel (GER)
1996 Atlanta
details
 Heli Rantanen (FIN) Louise McPaul (AUS) Trine Hattestad (NOR)
2000 Sydney
details
 Trine Hattestad (NOR) Mirela Maniani-Tzelili (GRE) Osleidys Menéndez (CUB)
2004 Athens
details
 Osleidys Menéndez (CUB) Steffi Nerius (GER) Mirela Maniani (GRE)
2008 Beijing
details
 Barbora Špotáková (CZE) Mariya Abakumova (RUS) Christina Obergföll (GER)
2012 London
details
 Barbora Špotáková (CZE) Christina Obergföll (GER) Linda Stahl (GER)

Season's bests[edit]

Men[edit]

RankMarkAthletePlace
197190.68 Jānis Lūsis (URS)Helsinki
197293.80 Jānis Lūsis (URS)Stockholm
197394.08 Klaus Wolfermann (FRG)Leverkusen
197489.58 Hannu Siitonen (FIN)Rome
197591.38 Miklós Németh (HUN)Budapest
197694.58 Miklós Németh (HUN)Montreal
197794.10 Miklós Németh (HUN)Stockholm
197894.22 Michael Wessing (FRG)Oslo
197993.84 Pentti Sinersaari (FIN)Auckland
198096.72 Ferenc Paragi (HUN)Tata
198192.48 Detlef Michel (GDR)Berlin
198295.80 Bob Roggy (USA)Stuttgart
198399.72 Tom Petranoff (USA)Westwood
1984104.80 Uwe Hohn (GDR)Berlin
198596.96 Uwe Hohn (GDR)Canberra

A new model was introduced in 1986, and all records started fresh.

RankMarkAthletePlace
198685.74 Klaus Tafelmeier (FRG)Como
198787.66 Jan Železný (TCH)Nitra
198886.88 Jan Železný (TCH)Leverkusen
198987.60 Kazuhiro Mizoguchi (JPN)San José
199089.58 Steve Backley (GBR)Stockholm
199190.82 Kimmo Kinnunen (FIN)Tokyo
199291.46 Steve Backley (GBR)Auckland
199395.66 Jan Železný (CZE)Sheffield
199491.82 Jan Železný (CZE)Sheffield
199592.60 Raymond Hecht (GER)Oslo
199698.48 Jan Železný (CZE)Jena
199794.02 Jan Železný (CZE)Stellenbosch
199890.88 Aki Parviainen (FIN)Tartu
199993.09 Aki Parviainen (FIN)Kuortane
200091.69 Konstadinós Gatsioúdis (GRE)Kuortane
200192.80 Jan Železný (CZE)Edmonton
200292.61 Sergey Makarov (RUS)Sheffield
200390.11 Sergey Makarov (RUS)Dessau
200487.73 Aleksandr Ivanov (RUS)Ostrava
200591.53 Tero Pitkämäki (FIN)Kuortane
200691.59 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)Oslo
200791.29 Breaux Greer (USA)Indianapolis
200890.57 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)Beijing
200991.28 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)Zürich
201090.37 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)Florø
201190.61 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)Byrkjelo
201288.34 Vítězslav Veselý (CZE)London
201389.03 Tero Pitkämäki (FIN)Bad Köstritz

Women[edit]

RankMarkAthletePlace
198070.08 Tatyana Biryulina (URS)Podolsk
198171.88 Antoaneta Todorova (BUL)Zagreb
198274.20 Sofia Sakorafa (GRE)Hania
198374.76 Tiina Lillak (FIN)Tampere
198474.72 Petra Felke (GDR)Celje
198575.40 Petra Felke (GDR)Schwerin
198677.44 Fatima Whitbread (GBR)Stuttgart
198778.90 Petra Felke (GDR)Leipzig
198880.00 Petra Felke (GDR)Potsdam
198976.88 Petra Felke (GDR)Macerata
199073.08 Petra Felke (GER)Manaus
199171.44 Trine Hattestad (NOR)Fana
199270.36 Natalya Shikolenko (BLR)Moscow
199372.12 Trine Hattestad (NOR)Oslo
199471.40 Natalya Shikolenko (BLR)Seville
199571.18 Natalya Shikolenko (BLR)Zürich
199669.42 Steffi Nerius (GER)Monaco
199769.66 Trine Hattestad (NOR)Helsinki
199870.10 Tanja Damaske (GER)Berlin

A new model was introduced in 1999 and all records started fresh.

Maria Abakumova 2011 World Athletics Championships
RankMarkAthletePlace
199968.19 Trine Hattestad (NOR)Fana
200069.48 Trine Hattestad (NOR)Oslo
200171.54 Osleidys Menéndez (CUB)Rethymno
200267.47 Miréla Manjani (GRE)Munich
200366.52 Miréla Manjani (GRE)Paris
200471.53 Osleidys Menéndez (CUB)Athens
200571.70 Osleidys Menéndez (CUB)Helsinki
200666.91 Christina Obergföll (GER)Athens
200770.20 Christina Obergföll (GER)Munich
200872.28 Barbora Špotáková (CZE)Stuttgart
200968.92 Mariya Abakumova (RUS)Berlin
201068.89 Mariya Abakumova (RUS)Doha
201171.99 Mariya Abakumova (RUS)Daegu
201269.55 Barbora Špotáková (CZE)London
201370.53 Mariya Abakumova (RUS)Berlin

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]