More Press for the Hammer Throw
I’ve been busy lately with my continued mission to evangelize the world about the hammer throw. If you are a frequent reader of this site, you already know my thoughts on the current state of the hammer throw. We’ve been excluded from the top meets and are shrinking away into oblivion. But perhaps worse is that the vast majority of track fans don’t even realize our absence. Many posts here have tried to inform the world of this, and now I’ve spread my efforts elsewhere.
Earlier this month I was asked to do a guest post for the popular Inside the Games website. The post, which can be read in its entirety here, discusses the problems we face and also suggests that the hammer throw community, not the IAAF, should be the most active in improving our status. Most people I talk to want the IAAF to just fix the situation. While that would be great, I don’t think we can just wait around for that to happen since it may never happen. Instead, we need to promote the event ourselves and seek ways we can be successful with our without the IAAF’s help.
My training partner, recently crowned Commonwealth Games champion and record holder Sultana Frizell, is also joining in on the effort. She conducted a lengthy interview with the Ottawa Citizen, and the resulting article focused on how the hammer throw has been left out of the Diamond League. Sultana always supplies a good quote and the article is well worth the read just to see the problem from a truly elite athlete’s perspective. I also was a guest on a recent taping of the TrackFocus Weekly podcast and was able to discuss the issue for several minutes. (Update: you can find the podcast here). I will post a link to the episode once it is released. If anyone else has ideas of other avenues we could use to spread the word, please let me know if I can help. If nothing else, we are getting the hammer throw in the headlines and letting a few more people know about our event.
In other news, I arrived back in America last Saturday, but have already left the country again. Right now, I’m in Kamloops visiting coach Bondarchuk for a week to touch base with him about my season and start planning for next year. In a few days, I will return to Seattle before going to eastern British Columbia for Crystal and Kibwé’s wedding next weekend. After that, I will return to Seattle for another week and then fly back to work in Switzerland at the end of the month. I know it sounds busy, but it has been and will be a very productive trip. Unlike last year, coach Bondarchuk says my technique hasn’t deteriorated while training alone for the summer and he has high hopes for the future. Despite the fact that I wasn’t able to get a new personal best this year, we both know I made significant progress that will pay off in the future. I’ve updated my schedule with a preliminary list of competitions for next year (more meets will be added in the future), and it looks like my first hammer meet will be in March. The clock is ticking.
Couple of thoughts after reading your linked article.
Damage to fields:
Could the hammer be altered so that it does less damage on impact? One thought was to take an indoor shot, the bag and swivel linkage from the indoor weight, lengthen to standard length with a wire, and use a standard handle. The flight characteristics may not change that much. Or would the forces involved simply destroy the shot? I believe there was a product Harold Connolly designed for practice that did minimal damage to a field.
If performance was not drastically impacted, would this be a possible answer? Less damage to the field may make it more viable for venues?
And if such a change could help revitalize the sport, wouldn’t that be a hoot to have something Harold came up with be the cause?
Raising the profile of the event:
I was at a movie recently and watched a trailer for the new Tron 2. That got me to thinking, what if you make a special meet where you get athletes dressed with some kind of neon glow material like they have in Tron, and possibly something glowing at the end of a hammer, much like a glow stick is used at a dance club.
And then darken the venue!
I think about the people I have seen doing the flaming hammer bit, and thought, “That is certainly eye catching. Now how to do it safely.”
Make it annual, offer prizes, get some interest, do a movie in IMAX? Get George Lucas to give us Light Saber hammer wires! Something, anything that makes the athletes stand out and visible in motion.
Just some thoughts from the sidelines.