Looking back at 2019: women’s hammer throw world rankings

Yesterday we released our men’s world rankings. Today it’s time for our women’s rankings. For the first time since 2012, Anita Wlodarczyk is not the top ranked athlete. It was a changing of the guard this year and our complete women’s hammer throw rankings are below.

Just one disclaimer before we begin: the rankings are a subjective evaluation of who had the best season in 2018. In coming to the final rankings I look at following factors, listed in their order of importance: performance at major championships and competitions, head-to-head performances against competitors, consistency; and season’s best. In short, performing when it counts is the best judge that you are better than another thrower.

1. DeAnna Price (USA)
Season Best: 78.24m (1st), World Athletics Ranking: 1
2019 Highlights: World Champion, US Champion, IAAF Hammer Challenge Champion, NACAC Record
2018 Rank: 2 (+1)

It would be easy to say that Price was ranked first since Wlodarczyk had injury issues. But it is not that straightforward. In reality, DeAnna Price knocked Wlodarczyk off of her throne this year and earned the rank on her own. She beat Wlodarczyk in their only head-t0-head meeting this year and threw nearly as far as Wlodarczyk did last year to
rank first. As Wlodarczyk is getting older, it is not a safe bet to say that a healthy recovery will be enough for her to beat Price next year. Historically American women have fallen off their form at major championships, but Price’s win shows what is possible. It marks the first ever World Championship throwing gold for an American woman, and the first global hammer throw gold by any American since 1956.

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2. Zheng Wang (CHN)
Season Best: 76.26m (5th), World Athletics Ranking: 2
2019 Highlights: 3rd Place World Championships, 2nd Place IAAF Hammer Challenge, World Military Games Champion
2018 Rank: 9 (+7)

Zheng was the only athlete to have a winning record against Price this year. They faced off three times, with Wang winning twice. She also won three Hammer Challenge competitions. But she finished three meters behind Price in Doha, which solidified Price’s position in first.

3. Gwen Berry (USA)
Season Best: 76.46m (3rd), World Athletics Rankings: 6
2019 Highlights: Pan American Games Champion, World Championship finalist, 5th Place IAAF Hammer Challenge
2018 Rank: 4 (+1)

Berry tends to go big or go home. After a coaching change last year, she showed a new level of consistency in 2019. She claimed a win at the Pan American Games, a season’s best at the US championships, and even qualified for the finals in Doha. But three fouls in the finals meant that was the end of her journey for the year. Compared to her closest competitors she fared well: 4 wins in 5 competitions agains Fiodorow, 2 of 3 against Tavernier, and she was one of just two athletes to hand Price a loss this year.

4. Joanna Fiodorow (POL)
Season Best: 76.35m (4th), World Athletics Ranking: 3
2019 Highlights: 2nd Place World Championships, 3rd Place IAAF Hammer Challenge, 1st Place Europe vs. USA, 2nd Place European Team Championships
2018 Rank: 73 (-1)

Even without Wlodarzck in Doha, Poland took home a medal thanks to Fiodorow. Typically major championship performance is my determining factor, and Fiodorow did not disappoint there. She threw a personal best to claim silver. But what hurt her was simply the performance level. Take out the Doha result and Fiodorow averaged just 72.55 meters across her other meets, nearly two meters off of her closest competitors.

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5. Alexandra Tavernier (FRA)
Season Best: 74.84m (11th), World Athletics Ranking: 5
2019 Highlights: 6th Place World Championships, 1st Place European Team Championships, 6th Place IAAF Hammer Challenge
2018 Rank: 5 (-)

Tavernier maintainer her rank from last year. While she did not claim any global medals, she competed well on the circuit, placing 5th or higher at every meet except the World Championships.

6. Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)
Season Best: 75.61m (6th), World Athletics Ranking: 4
2019 Highlights: 4th Place IAAF Hammer Challenge
2018 Rank: 1 (-5)

How do you rank half a season? Wlodarczyk called her season short for knee surgery in July. In total, she competed just three times and missed the biggest meets of the year. She still won a Hammer Challenge meet and was on the podium in two more. But the world record holder was a shadow of herself and it’s hard to justify a higher ranking without a longer resume.

7. Zalina Petrivskaya (MDA)
Season Best: 74.70 (12th), World Athletics Ranking: 7
2019 Highlights:4th Place World Championships
2018 Rank: Not ranked

Petrivskaya only competed about one a month this year, but posted strong and consistent results, culminating in a fourth place finish at the World Championships.

8. Iryna Klymets (UKR)
Season Best: 73.56m (13th), World Athletics Ranking: 10
2019 Highlights: 5th Place World Championships, World University Games Champion, 3rd Place European Team Championships
2018 Rank: Not ranked

nlike Petrivskaya, Kylmets racked up some big meets results by winning the World University Games and having a strong showing at the European Team Championships. However Petrivskaya got the edge as she finished higher at the World Championships and her average result throughout the season was also higher.

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9. Brooke Andersen (USA)
Season Best: 76.75m (2nd), World Athletics Ranking: 11
2019 Highlights: 2nd Place Pan American Games, 3rd Place Europe vs. USA
2018 Rank: Not ranked

Andersen jumped onto the international scene last year, and climbed even higher this year. She made her first World Championship team, although failed to reach the finals. But she had strong showings at the Pan American Games and other international meets. Combined with the second best mark in the world this year, that helps her make her rankings debut. She is also the youngest athlete on this year’s rankings at age 24.

10. Na Luo (CHN)
Season Best: 72.93m (17th), World Athletics Ranking: 9
2019 Highlights: 2nd Place Asian Championships, 8th Place World Championships, 8th Place IAAF Hammer Challenge
2018 Rank: 6 (-4)

The final spot on the rankings is always a tough one, with many athletes close to making the cut. A half dozen athletes were in consideration this year. In the end, Luo edged out Hanna Malyshik (BLR) thanks to a strong showing at the World Championships and Asian Championships.