Fifteen Minutes of Fame for the Hammer Throw

Over the past few weeks, the hammer throw has benefited from a rare and lucky streak of publicity. First, noted author Brendan Koerner penned a 3,000 word piece for ESPN The Magazine looking at the 25 year anniversary of Yuriy Sedykh’s world record and how it might be one of the most untouchable records in sports. In tomorrow’s New York Times, Isolde Raftery wrote another article about the philosophical nature of hammer throwers.

I was interviewed by both authors before they ran their articles and was impressed by the depth of their questions. Neither writer had any prior experience with the event. Koerner told me he came up with an idea after looking at the record book and seeing how old the hammer throw record was. Raftery was assigned the story by an editor that thought it would be good to learn more about the event in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. Yet both quickly learned about it by interviewing a dozens of people. Koerner even tried the hammer throw under the supervision of 2010 U.S. Champion Jake Freeman. And as a result, his story paints a vivid picture of Sedykh’s world record throw.


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4 replies
  1. Austinfunk
    Austinfunk says:

    I recently read both and was also impressed with the depth that the two reporters were able to put into their respective articles. I am new to the world of hammer throwing and still being a high school athlete that chooses not to take part of football, basketball, or wrestling like most teenagers am pleasantly surprised by the articles.

    I also agree about people loving the event once they get into it, from the outside it may not look to appealing, it has been one year since I started and I am glad that I have a coach to help me to advance. I hope that these articles will give hammer throw more than just fifteen minutes of fame and that it will one day advance to the way that the event is viewed in the eastern european nations.

    I just felt the need to express my opinion, and spread the insight of a young aspiring hammer thrower.

  2. james findlay
    james findlay says:

    There is an article posted on Track and Field News about fatal injuries in high school sports. Football is #1, track # 2. I was expecting with horror to see another nail in hammer’s coffin, but the pole vault is the event with the majority of deaths.

    I had no idea so many states contested hammer in school meets. Were there specific accidents that caused so many states to drop hammer from the high school meets, or was it just the speculation of the lawyers and insurance agents regarding liability?

    I have heard rumors that the hammer will be added to Ontario (Canada) high school meets, but that’s just a rumor. Hope its true.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Most of the other states had the event in the first few decades of the 20th century and had eliminated it well before even Harold came along. I don’t know the reasons, but this was when they threw without cages and played football without helmets, so I don’t think a lawsuit was the first thing on their mind. But once anything is thrown out, it is twice as hard for it to get back in.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Both are great pieces that provide a great insight into the event for both those familiar with the event as well as those that know very little about track and field.  Martin Bingisser was interviewed for both articles and wrote a blog post giving his additional thoughts about the articles. […]

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