Shot put

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Shot put
Tomasz Majewski - 2. Memoriał Kamili Skolimowskiej - Warszawa, 2011-09-20.jpg
The Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski.
Men's records
WorldUnited States Randy Barnes 23.12 m (1990)
OlympicEast Germany Ulf Timmermann 22.47 m (1988)
Women's records
WorldSoviet Union Natalya Lisovskaya 22.63 m (1987)
OlympicEast Germany Ilona Slupianek 22.41 m (1980)
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Shot put
Tomasz Majewski - 2. Memoriał Kamili Skolimowskiej - Warszawa, 2011-09-20.jpg
The Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski.
Men's records
WorldUnited States Randy Barnes 23.12 m (1990)
OlympicEast Germany Ulf Timmermann 22.47 m (1988)
Women's records
WorldSoviet Union Natalya Lisovskaya 22.63 m (1987)
OlympicEast Germany Ilona Slupianek 22.41 m (1980)

The shot put (pronounced /ˈʃɒt pʊt/) is a track and field event involving "throwing"/"putting" (throwing in a pushing motion) a heavy spherical object —the shot—as far as possible. The shot put competition for men has been a part of the modern Olympics since their revival in 1896, women's competition began in 1948.


Czechoslovakian shot putter Plihan at the 1957 East German Indoor Athletics Championships
Shot putter at the University of Nebraska, 1942, showing the circle and stopboard

Homer makes mention of competitions of rock throwing by soldiers during the Siege of Troy but there is no record of any dead weights being thrown in Greek competitions. The first evidence for stone- or weight-throwing events were in the Scottish Highlands, and date back to approximately the first century.[1] In the 16th century King Henry VIII was noted for his prowess in court competitions of weight and hammer throwing.[citation needed]

The first events resembling the modern shot put likely occurred in the Middle Ages when soldiers held competitions in which they hurled cannonballs. Shot put competitions were first recorded in early 19th century Scotland, and were a part of the British Amateur Championships beginning in 1866.[2]

Competitors take their throw from inside a marked circle 2.135 metres (7.00 ft) in diameter, with a stopboard about 10 centimetres (3.9 in) high at the front of the circle. The distance thrown is measured from the inside of the circumference of the circle to the nearest mark made in the ground by the falling shot, with distances rounded down to the nearest centimetre under IAAF and WMA rules.

Legal throws[edit]

Czechoslovakian shot putter Jiří Skobla showing the correct technique for keeping the shot near the neck

The following rules are adhered to for a legal throw:

Foul throws occur when an athlete:


The following are either obsolete or non-existent but commonly believed rules:


A shot putter with a representation of the circle and legal sector

Shot put competitions have been held at the modern Summer Olympic Games since their inception in 1896, and it is also included as an event in the World Athletics Championships.

Each competition has a set number of rounds of throws. Typically there are three preliminary rounds to determine qualification for the final, and then three more rounds in the final. Each competitor is credited with their longest throw, regardless of whether it was achieved in the preliminary or final rounds. The competitor with the longest legal put is declared the winner.

In open competitions the men's shot weighs 7.260 kilograms (16.01 lb), and the women's shot weighs 4 kilograms (8.8 lb). Junior, school, and masters competitions often use different weights of shots, typically below the weights of those used in open competitions; the individual rules for each competition should be consulted in order to determine the correct weights to be used.

Putting styles[edit]

Two putting styles are in current general use by shot put competitors: the glide and the spin. With all putting styles, the goal is to release the shot with maximum forward velocity at an angle of approximately forty degrees.


The origin of the glide dates to 1951, when Parry O'Brien of the United States invented a technique that involved the putter facing backwards, rotating 180 degrees across the circle, and then tossing the shot.

With this technique, a right-hand thrower would begin facing the rear of the circle, and then kick to the front with the left leg, while pushing off forcefully with the right. As the thrower crosses the circle, the hips twist toward the front, the left arm is swung out then pulled back tight, followed by the shoulders, and they then strike in a putting motion with their right arm. The key is to move quickly across the circle with as little air under the feet as possible, hence the name "glide".


In 1972 Aleksandr Baryshnikov set his first USSR record using a new putting style, the spin ("круговой мах" in Russian), invented by his coach Viktor Alexeyev.[3][4] The spin involves rotating like a discus thrower and using rotational momentum for power. In 1976 Baryshnikov went on to set a world record of 22.00 m (72.18 ft) with his spin style, and was the first shot putter to cross the 22 metre mark.[5]

With this technique, a right-hand thrower faces the rear, and begins to spin on the ball of the left foot. The thrower comes around and faces the front of the circle and drives the right foot into the middle of the circle. Finally, the thrower reaches for the front of the circle with the left foot, twisting the hips and shoulders like in the glide, and puts the shot.

When the athlete executes the spin, the upper body is twisted hard to the right, so the imaginary lines created by the shoulders and hips are no longer parallel. This action builds up torque, and stretches the muscles, creating an involuntary elasticity in the muscles, providing extra power and momentum. When the athlete prepares to release, the left foot is firmly planted, causing the momentum and energy generated to be conserved, pushing the shot in an upward and outward direction.

Another purpose of the spin is to build up a high rotational speed, by swinging the right leg initially, then to bring all the limbs in tightly, similar to a figure skater bringing in their arms while spinning to increase their speed. Once this fast speed is achieved the shot is released, transferring the energy into the shot put.


Currently, most top male shot putters use the spin. However the glide remains popular, especially among Olympic and World Champions and among women, since the technique leads to greater consistency compared to the rotational technique. Almost all throwers start by using the glide. Tomasz Majewski notes that although most athletes use the spin,[6] he and some other top shot putters (who also don't use banned substances, like Randy Barnes who received a life ban) achieved success using this classic method (for example he become first to defend the Olympic title in 56 years). The spin method is also worse in bad weather conditions (e.g. wind, rain, cold).

The world record by a male putter of 23.120 m (75 ft 10.236 in) by Randy Barnes was completed with the spin technique, while the second-best all-time put of 23.063 m (75 ft 7.992 in) by Ulf Timmermann was completed with the glide technique.

Measuring which technique can provide the most potential is difficult, as many of the best throws recorded with each technique have been completed by athletes under doping suspicions, or with a record of drug violations.[citation needed] The decision to glide or spin may need to be decided on an individual basis, determined by the thrower's size and power. Short throwers may benefit from the spin and taller throwers may benefit from the glide, but many throwers do not follow this guideline.

Types of shots[edit]

The shot put ball is made of different kinds of materials depending on its intended use. Materials used include iron, cast iron, solid steel, stainless steel, brass, and synthetic materials like polyvinyl. Some metals are more dense than others making the size of the shot vary, for example, indoor shots are larger than outdoor shots, so different materials are used to make them. There are various size and weight standards for the implement that depend on the age and gender of the competitors as well as the national customs of the governing body.

World records[edit]

The current world record holders are:

OutdoorRandy Barnes[7]23.12 m (75 ft 10 in)Westwood, California, USAMay 20, 1990
IndoorRandy Barnes22.66 m (74 ft 4 in)Los Angeles, California, USAJanuary 20, 1989
OutdoorNatalya Lisovskaya[8]22.63 m (74 ft 234 in)Moscow, USSRJune 7, 1987
IndoorHelena Fibingerová22.50 m (73 ft 934 in)Jablonec, CZEFebruary 19, 1977

Continental records[edit]

The current records held on each continent are:[9]

Africa21.97 m (72 ft 034 in)Janus Robberts South Africa18.35 m (60 ft 214 in)Vivian Chukwuemeka Nigeria
Asia21.13 m (69 ft 334 in)Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi Saudi Arabia21.76 m (71 ft 412 in)Meisu Li China
Europe23.06 m (75 ft 734 in)Ulf Timmermann East Germany22.63 m (74 ft 234 in) WRNatalya Lisovskaya Soviet Union
North and Central
America, and Caribbean
23.12 m (75 ft 10 in) WRRandy Barnes United States20.96 m (68 ft 9 in)[A]Belsy Laza Cuba
Oceania21.26 m (69 ft 9 in)Scott Martin Australia21.24 m (69 ft 8 in)Valerie Adams New Zealand
South America21.26 m (69 ft 9 in)[10]German Lauro Argentina19.30 m (63 ft 334 in)[A]Elisângela Adriano Brazil

Note: A Represents a distance set at a high altitude.[11]

Top ten performers[edit]


23.12 m (75 ft 10 in)Randy Barnes United StatesUCLAMay 20, 1990
23.06 m (75 ft 734 in)Ulf Timmermann East GermanyKhaniaMay 22, 1988
22.91 m (75 ft 134 in)Alessandro Andrei ItalyViareggioAugust 12, 1987
22.86 m (75 ft 0 in)Brian Oldfield United StatesEl PasoMay 10, 1975
22.75 m (74 ft 712 in)Werner Günthör  SwitzerlandBernAugust 23, 1988
22.67 m (74 ft 412 in)Kevin Toth United StatesLawrenceApril 19, 2003
22.64 m (74 ft 314 in)Udo Beyer East GermanyBerlinAugust 20, 1986
22.54 m (73 ft 1114 in)Christian Cantwell United StatesGreshamJune 5, 2004
22.52 m (73 ft 1012 in)John Brenner United StatesWalnutApril 26, 1987
22.51 m (73 ft 10 in)Adam Nelson United StatesGreshamMay 18, 2002


22.63 m (74 ft 234 in)Natalya Lisovskaya Soviet UnionMoscowJune 7, 1987
22.45 m (73 ft 734 in)Ilona Briesenick East GermanyPotsdamMay 11, 1980
22.32 m (73 ft 212 in)Helena Fibingerová CzechoslovakiaNitraAugust 20, 1977
22.19 m (72 ft 912 in)Claudia Losch West GermanyHainfeldAugust 23, 1987
21.89 m (71 ft 934 in)Ivanka Khristova BulgariaBelmekenJuly 4, 1976
21.86 m (71 ft 812 in)Marianne Adam East GermanyLeipzigJune 23, 1979
21.76 m (71 ft 412 in)Li Meisu ChinaShijiazhuangApril 23, 1988
21.73 m (71 ft 312 in)Natalya Akhrimenko Soviet UnionLeselidzeMay 21, 1988
21.69 m (71 ft 134 in)Vita Pavlysh UkraineBudapestAugust 15, 1998
21.66 m (71 ft 034 in)Sui Xinmei ChinaBeijingJune 9, 1990

Medal winners[edit]

Olympic Games medal winners[edit]



World Championships medal winners[edit]


1983Edward Sarul ( Poland)Ulf Timmermann ( East Germany)Remigius Machura ( Czechoslovakia)
1987Werner Günthör (  Switzerland)Alessandro Andrei ( Italy)John Brenner ( United States)
1991Werner Günthör (  Switzerland)Lars Arvid Nilsen ( Norway)Alexander Klimenko ( Soviet Union)
1993Werner Günthör (  Switzerland)Randy Barnes ( United States)Oleksandr Bagach ( Ukraine)
1995John Godina ( United States)Mika Halvari ( Finland)Randy Barnes ( United States)
1997John Godina ( United States)Oliver-Sven Buder ( Germany)Cottrell J. Hunter ( United States)
1999Cottrell J. Hunter ( United States)Oliver-Sven Buder ( Germany)Oleksandr Bagach ( Ukraine)
2001John Godina ( United States)Adam Nelson ( United States)Arsi Harju ( Finland)
2003Andrei Mikhnevich ( Belarus)Adam Nelson ( United States)Yuriy Bilonoh ( Ukraine)
2005Adam Nelson ( United States)Rutger Smith ( Netherlands)Ralf Bartels ( Germany)
2007Reese Hoffa ( United States)Adam Nelson ( United States)Andrei Mikhnevich ( Belarus)
2009Christian Cantwell ( United States)Tomasz Majewski ( Poland)Ralf Bartels ( Germany)
2011David Storl ( Germany)Dylan Armstrong ( Canada)Andrei Mikhnevich ( Belarus)


1983Helena Fibingerová ( Czechoslovakia)Helma Knorscheidt ( East Germany)Ilona Slupianek ( East Germany)
1987Natalya Lisovskaya ( Soviet Union)Kathrin Neimke ( East Germany)Ines Müller ( East Germany)
1991Huang Zhihong ( China)Natalya Lisovskaya ( Soviet Union)Svetlana Krivelyova ( Soviet Union)
1993Huang Zhihong ( China)Svetlana Krivelyova ( Russia)Kathrin Neimke ( Germany)
1995Astrid Kumbernuss ( Germany)Huang Zhihong ( China)Svetla Mitkova ( Bulgaria)
1997Astrid Kumbernuss ( Germany)Vita Pavlysh ( Ukraine)Stephanie Storp ( Germany)
1999Astrid Kumbernuss ( Germany)Nadine Kleinert ( Germany)Svetlana Krivelyova ( Russia)
2001Yanina Karolchyk-Pravalinskaya ( Belarus)Nadine Kleinert ( Germany)Vita Pavlysh ( Ukraine)
2003Svetlana Krivelyova ( Russia)Nadzeya Astapchuk ( Belarus)Vita Pavlysh ( Ukraine)
2005Nadzeya Astapchuk ( Belarus)Olga Ryabinkina ( Russia)Valerie Vili ( New Zealand)
2007Valerie Vili ( New Zealand)Nadzeya Astapchuk ( Belarus)Nadine Kleinert ( Germany)
2009Valerie Vili ( New Zealand)Nadine Kleinert ( Germany)Gong Lijiao ( China)
2011Valerie Adams ( New Zealand)Nadzeya Astapchuk ( Belarus)Jillian Camarena-Williams ( United States)

Best annual performances[edit]


196420.68 m (67 ft 10 in) Dallas Long (USA)Los Angeles
196521.52 m (70 ft 7 in) Randy Matson (USA)College Station
196621.09 m (69 ft 214 in) Randy Matson (USA)Los Angeles
196721.78 m (71 ft 514 in) Randy Matson (USA)College Station
196821.30 m (69 ft 1012 in) Randy Matson (USA)Walnut
196920.64 m (67 ft 812 in) Neal Steinhauer (USA)
 Hans-Peter Gies (GDR)
197021.75 m (71 ft 414 in) Randy Matson (USA)Berkeley
197121.12 m (69 ft 314 in) Heinz-Joachim Rothenburg (GDR)Moscow
197221.54 m (70 ft 8 in) Hartmut Briesenick (GDR)Potsdam
197321.82 m (71 ft 7 in) Al Feuerbach (USA)San Jose
197421.70 m (71 ft 214 in) Aleksandr Baryshnikov (URS)Moscow
197522.86 m (75 ft 0 in) Brian Oldfield (USA)El Paso
197622.45 m (73 ft 734 in) Brian Oldfield (USA)El Paso
197721.74 m (71 ft 334 in) Udo Beyer (GDR)Düsseldorf
197822.15 m (72 ft 8 in) Udo Beyer (GDR)Gothenburg
197921.74 m (71 ft 334 in) Udo Beyer (GDR)Linz
198021.98 m (72 ft 114 in) Udo Beyer (GDR)Erfurt
198122.02 m (72 ft 234 in) Brian Oldfield (USA)Modesto
198222.02 m (72 ft 234 in) Dave Laut (USA)Koblenz
198322.22 m (72 ft 1034 in) Udo Beyer (GDR)Los Angeles
198422.19 m (72 ft 912 in) Brian Oldfield (USA)San Jose
198522.62 m (74 ft 212 in) Ulf Timmermann (GDR)Berlin
198622.64 m (74 ft 314 in) Udo Beyer (GDR)Berlin
198722.91 m (75 ft 134 in) Alessandro Andrei (ITA)Viareggio
198823.06 m (75 ft 734 in) Ulf Timmermann (GDR)Hania
198922.19 m (72 ft 912 in) Ulf Timmermann (GDR)Berlin
199023.12 m (75 ft 10 in) Randy Barnes (USA)Westwood
199122.03 m (72 ft 314 in) Werner Günthör (SUI)Oslo
199221.98 m (72 ft 114 in) Gregg Tafralis (USA)Los Gatos
199321.98 m (72 ft 114 in) Werner Günthör (SUI)Linz
199421.09 m (69 ft 214 in) Jim Doehring (USA)New York City
199522.00 m (72 ft 2 in) John Godina (USA)Knoxville
199622.40 m (73 ft 534 in) Randy Barnes (USA)Rüdlingen
199722.03 m (72 ft 314 in) Randy Barnes (USA)Indianapolis
199821.78 m (71 ft 514 in) John Godina (USA)Walnut
199922.02 m (72 ft 234 in) John Godina (USA)Eugene
200022.12 m (72 ft 634 in) Adam Nelson (USA)Sacramento
200121.97 m (72 ft 034 in) Janus Robberts (RSA)Eugene
200222.51 m (73 ft 10 in) Adam Nelson (USA)Gresham
200322.67 m (74 ft 412 in) Kevin Toth (USA)Lawrence
200422.54 m (73 ft 1114 in) Christian Cantwell (USA)Gresham
200522.20 m (72 ft 10 in) John Godina (USA)Carson
200622.45 m (73 ft 734 in) Christian Cantwell (USA)Gateshead
200722.43 m (73 ft 7 in) Reese Hoffa (USA)London
200822.12 m (72 ft 634 in) Adam Nelson (USA)Manhattan
200922.16 m (72 ft 814 in) Christian Cantwell (USA)Zagreb
201022.41 m (73 ft 614 in) Christian Cantwell (USA)Eugene
201122.21 m (72 ft 1014 in) A Dylan Armstrong (CAN)Calgary
201222.31 m (73 ft 214 in) Christian Cantwell (USA)Champaign


196819.61 m (64 ft 4 in) Margitta Gummel (GDR)Mexico City
196920.43 m (67 ft 014 in) Nadezhda Chizhova (URS)Athens
197019.69 m (64 ft 7 in) Nadezhda Chizhova (URS)Erfurt
197120.43 m (67 ft 014 in) Nadezhda Chizhova (URS)Moscow
197221.03 m (68 ft 1134 in) Nadezhda Chizhova (URS)Munich
197321.45 m (70 ft 414 in) Nadezhda Chizhova (URS)Varna
197421.57 m (70 ft 9 in) Helena Fibingerová (TCH)Gottwaldov
197521.60 m (70 ft 1014 in) Marianne Adam (GDR)Berlin
197621.99 m (72 ft 112 in) Helena Fibingerová (TCH)Opava
197722.32 m (73 ft 212 in) Helena Fibingerová (TCH)Nitra
197822.06 m (72 ft 412 in) Ilona Slupianek (GDR)Berlin
197922.04 m (72 ft 312 in) Ilona Slupianek (GDR)Potsdam
198022.45 m (73 ft 734 in) Ilona Slupianek (GDR)Potsdam
198121.61 m (70 ft 1034 in) Ilona Slupianek (GDR)Potsdam
198221.80 m (71 ft 614 in) Ilona Slupianek (GDR)Potsdam
198322.40 m (73 ft 534 in) Ilona Slupianek (GDR)Berlin
198422.53 m (73 ft 11 in) Natalya Lisovskaya (URS)Sochi
198521.73 m (71 ft 312 in) Natalya Lisovskaya (URS)Erfurt
198621.70 m (71 ft 214 in) Natalya Lisovskaya (URS)Tallinn
198722.63 m (74 ft 234 in) Natalya Lisovskaya (URS)Moscow
198822.55 m (73 ft 1134 in) Natalya Lisovskaya (URS)Tallinn
198920.82 m (68 ft 312 in) Li Meisu (CHN)Prague
199021.66 m (71 ft 034 in) Sui Xinmei (CHN)Beijing
199121.12 m (69 ft 314 in) Natalya Lisovskaya (URS)Frankfurt
199221.06 m (69 ft 1 in) Svetlana Krivelyova (RUS)Barcelona
199320.84 m (68 ft 414 in) Svetlana Krivelyova (RUS)Moscow
199420.54 m (67 ft 412 in) Sui Xinmei (CHN)Beijing
199521.22 m (69 ft 714 in) Astrid Kumbernuss (GER)Gothenburg
199620.97 m (68 ft 912 in) Astrid Kumbernuss (GER)Duisburg
199721.22 m (69 ft 714 in) Astrid Kumbernuss (GER)Hamburg
199821.69 m (71 ft 134 in) Viktoriya Pavlysh (UKR)Budapest
199920.26 m (66 ft 512 in) Svetlana Krivelyova (RUS)Tula
200021.46 m (70 ft 434 in) Larisa Peleshenko (RUS)Moscow
200120.79 m (68 ft 212 in) Larisa Peleshenko (RUS)Tula
200220.64 m (67 ft 812 in) Irina Korzhanenko (RUS)Munich
200320.77 m (68 ft 112 in) Svetlana Krivelyova (RUS)Tula
200420.79 m (68 ft 212 in) Irina Korzhanenko (RUS)Tula
200521.09 m (69 ft 214 in) Nadzeya Astapchuk (BLR)Minsk
200620.56 m (67 ft 514 in) Nadzeya Astapchuk (BLR)Minsk
200720.54 m (67 ft 412 in) Valerie Vili (NZL)Osaka
200820.98 m (68 ft 934 in) Nadzeya Astapchuk (BLR)Minsk
200921.07 m (69 ft 112 in) Valerie Vili (NZL)Thessaloniki
201020.95 m (68 ft 834 in) Nadzeya Astapchuk (BLR)Grodno
201121.24 m (69 ft 8 in) Valerie Vili (NZL)Daegu
201221.58 m (70 ft 912 in) Nadzeya Astapchuk (BLR)Minsk

See also[edit]


External links[edit]