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Hammer Time a Success After Stunning Performances

I’m sure Kibwe loves that they chose to use this picture of him on the logo.

The US Olympic Track and Field Trials got into action yesterday with a special event for the hammer throw taking place at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. An estimated crowd of 3,000 spectators swarmed the campus and they were welcomed by a rare sight for Oregonians this June: the sun. It seemed like everything lined up to produce a great event. In my season and meet previews I highlighted this as an event that was crucial for hammer throwers. With extra media and fans in attendance, throwers could either step up their game and give the media something special to write about, or they could make it just another event. The throwers definitely seized the opportunity and left all in attendance with a memorable experience and the outflow from the event is still coming in as media outlets have been writing about and praising the event non-stop for the past 24 hours.

At the end of the day, the US now has its first track and field Olympians: Kibwe Johnson, A.G. Kruger, Amber Campbell, Amanda Bingson, and Jessica Cosby. Three of the five will be making their first Olympic appearance. Congratulations! The final results are available here online for men and women. While I was unable to attend, both my family and many friends were there. After talking with them, reading all the media reports, these are a few things that stood out to me.
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US Olympic Trials Hammer Throw Guide

The Olympic Track and Field Team Trials kick off on Friday in Eugene, Oregon, but the action starts a day earlier and 111 miles north when the hammer throw final takes place on Thursday at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton. The decision to move the hammer away from the main event has stirred a bit of controversy since little was done to initially promote the event. Even within the last week there were three separate reports of Nike employees telling individuals and press that the event was not open to the general public. But a little controversy has been good as it pushed both the USATF and Nike to put out a last minute effort to publicize the event. A new hammer cage was recently installed at Ronaldo Field and bleachers will be coming soon. By all measures things are coming into shape just in time.
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10 Reasons to Watch the Hammer in 2012

The international season starts up this weekend with the first leg of the IAAF Hammer Challenge in Kawasaki, Japan. Until the hammer throw is added to the Diamond League, the hammer challenge will remain the top circuit of throwing meets. And with so few competitive opportunities many of the best are jumping right in. The field in Kawasaki will feature five 80-meter throwers (see the full start list here).

By the end of the year, my wish list from last season was mostly fulfilled. On the eve of the 2012 season I’ve thought of the top 10 things I’m looking forward to this year. Feel free to share yours in the comments section below.


The highlight of 2012 will no doubt be the Olympic Games in London.

1 – A woman over 80 meters. This was high on my list last year and Betty Heidler came within two feet of the barrier in the earlier season. There were rumors that she threw over it in training during the summer, but it never materialized at a meet. A few women may be capable of hitting the mark (even my old training buddy Sultana Frizell threw her name in the mix with a 75 meter bomb in March), but Heidler has to be the frontrunner now. Not only has she thrown the furthest, but she is also motivated to improve even more after she only claimed silver at last year’s world championships.
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So When is Hammer Time?

Ronaldo Field in Beaverton will be the site of the U.S. Olympic Trials hammer throw competition.

I had mixed feelings when the U.S. Olympic Trials organizing committee officially announced its plan for “Hammer Time” last October. Moving the Olympic Trials hammer throw competition from Eugene up to the Portland area could very well highlight the event, but without the right support it also means that the hammer could further vanish into obscurity.
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Arizona Training Camp 2012

As I left work last week several coworkers asked me where I would be headed during my time off. I explained that I would first be attending a friend’s wedding and then off to a training camp in Scottsdale. The response was along the lines of: “You mean you’ll be working out the whole time? Doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me.” I get a similar response whenever I head out on a vacation, as if it is impossible to enjoy yourself in a warm location if you have to train. Rather than thinking of it as work, I couldn’t think of a much better vacation than the one I am having right now. The two people sitting next to me on the plane ride down both were headed to Arizona to play golf. So why do people think that I also wouldn’t enjoy playing my favorite sport non-stop for a week?
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Looking Back on 2011: Best Moments in Hammer Throwing

I’ve ranked the top ten men. I’ve ranked the top ten women. But there are many moments that can’t be captured in athlete’s rankings. Throughout 2011 there were some great events in hammer throwing that were one-off occurrences or even something a non-thrower accomplishes. Below is a list of my favorite moments in hammer throwing from the past year.
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Looking Back at 2011: Men’s Rankings

My top three also swept the podium in Daegu...only in a different order.

In February, Track and Field News releases their annual rankings for each event which are considered the international standard of success. I can’t wait that long, so I’ve compiled my own top ten list. The year is almost over after all.

My criteria is subjective, so let the debate begin. Feel free to post your own thoughts in the comment section below. If you want some stats for the season, check out the IAAF’s performance lists.


1. Krisztian Pars (HUN). Pars had a nearly perfect season. He had the best mark of the year at 81.89m. He broke 80 meters more than any other thrower. He won 20 of his 24 competitions and never placed lower than third. He won the more World Hammer Challenge competitions than anyone and walked away with the title. But there is a reason it was only “nearly” perfect. To be perfect he would have also needed a win at the World Championships. In a thrilling competition he took the silver as his final attempt just two inches away from the gold. But his overall resume was so strong I feel he had the best overall season.
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What Will It Take In London?

The last qualifier for the finals at all major championships over the past few decades. Stats compiled by Ian Tempest.

The men’s hammer world record has stood for 25 years and across the sport you hear complaints that the level of the best throwers has fallen drastically. Indeed, the top throwers now are not comparable to the top throwers in the 1980s. But while the winning results at the major championships have fluctuated a lot over the past three decades, what it takes to make the finals in London likely won’t be that different than what it took to make the finals at the 1986 European Championships where Yuri Sedykh threw his world record.
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Kamloops Training Camp 2011

Reunited with the master.

Over the past ten days I have taken a trip back in time. I returned to my former home and training partners. I returned to working with my coach in person. I returned to the routine of a life 100% focused on training. In other words, I returned to Kamloops.

After nearly a year away from coach Bondarchuk, I needed to touch base with him. We talk or exchange emails every week, but that isn’t the same as getting in person feedback from him. The feedback is something he also needs, since it is also difficult for him to determine my progress without observing me first hand.
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Star Search Begins in Hammer Throw

Primoz Kozmus presenting a gift to Lord Sebastian Coe.

Defending Olympic champion Primož Kozmus travelled to London last week for the “London before London” event hosted by the Slovenian Embassy. Featured alongside Kozmus was Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee. At the end of the evening the two took a minute to speak about the Diamond League hammer throw exclusion and Kozmus commented that “Lord Coe expressed his support and endeavors to bring [the hammer throw] back to this important track and field competition.”

The hammer throw has a long list of tasks it needs to do to increase its profile, and I write about this often. But the bottom line is that it needs put itself back in the headlines. And having a personable and likable face for the event helps tremendously. Read more