A few of the Whales: John Flanagan, Martin Sheridan and James Mitchell.

The Irish Whales: Strong Hand Prevails

The 1890s were a tumultuous time for the hammer throw. The event was quickly transforming into the modern version and the scene was so chaotic that there wasn’t even a clear world record holder. It was similar to how boxing currently has multiple world champions in each weight class due to the numerous sanctioning bodies. The problem in the hammer was that there were no clear rules. You had a world record holder for throwing different weights. For throwing a hammer with a wooden handle or with a flexible handle. There were record for both the 7-foot, and 9-foot circles, and for throwing from a square. The only constant in these times was the winner: without fail it be an Irishman.


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  1. […] Via Hammer Media, a documentary on the Irish Whales, the dominant throwers of the early 20th-century. In Irish with English subtitles; read Martin Bingisser’s accompanying piece here. […]

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