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What Will It Take In London?

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.

Stat man Ian Tempest gave a wonderful presentation at last weekend’s UK hammer workshop illustrating this and many other interesting stats from the past few decades of hammer throwing. While the women’s sport is still new and growing very fast, I found the statistics on the men’s hammer to be the most interesting. As I mentioned above, the 12th and last qualifier for the finals at the 1986 European Championships threw 75.46m. The last qualifier this year at the World Championships threw 75.36m. Twenty-five years but little has changed in this regard. The strongest decade was actually the 2000s, with over 77 meters required to make the finals at the 2002 European Championships. The graph above shows how the level as changed slightly since the 1980s.


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