Global trends in track and field: who’s hot and who’s not

While everyone focuses on the medal table during the Olympics, what I find even more interesting is the placing table. The placing table allocates points for each finalist: 8 points for first, 1 for eighth. Medals can often be a matter of luck, but by looking at a country’s depth you get a real idea of trends in the sport. Below are some insights gathered from analyzing the results from Tokyo, as well as placings for the last six Olympics.

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A call to standardize throwing surfaces

All sports have rules. Rules are there to standardize competition, making it both more safe and fair for the competitors. Rules define the playing area, implement, procedures, and more. Rules can go overboard, but the idea is that the rules make sure the winner determined by physical and tactical components, rather than luck. In the throwing events various rules define the size and weight of the implement, where it must be thrown, the design of the cage, and the structure of the competition. However one there is one big gap in the rules: the throwing surface.

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Finding victory amongst failure

Every year l write a memorial to Harold Connolly on the anniversary of his death. When l started to think about this year’s topic last month the theme was going to be “mission accomplished.” America was sending its strongest team to the Olympics in a century. Harold Connolly’s work to resurrect American hammer throwing has been showing progress for a long time. Now, 11 years after his death, we were on the verge of seeing the ultimate fruits of his labor.

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Against all odds

Look back at the history of track and field and there are some legendary performances that we can all admire no matter the era. 60 years ago Abebe Bikila won the Olympic marathon barefoot in a time of 2:15, just over 6 minutes off the times from recent Olympics. Jesse Owens had to dig starting blocks into the cinder track when he ran, but his performances in the long jump would still qualify for the Olympic final nearly 90 years later. Harold Connolly won Olympic hammer throw gold despite partial paralysis in one arm. Read more

The decade in review: women’s hammer throw world rankings

Earlier this week we ranked the top male hammer throwers of the decade. Today we continue to look back at the 2010s by ranking the top female hammer throwers, including a look back at interesting trends and statistics. Read more

The decade in review: men’s hammer throw world rankings

Who was the best male hammer thrower of the 2010s? Every year we rank the top 10 hammer throwers in the world. With the decade coming to an end, we crunched the numbers to rank the top throwers of the decade and highlight some cool statistics and trends that emerged over the last 10 years. Read more

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. Read more

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

It was a bit of a strange year in the hammer throw. For the first time ever, the World Championships took place in October. Also, for the first time ever, there were four medal winners. In the end, some of the top established throwers continued to add to their credentials. But it was also a year for new names, as five of our top ten athletes were unranked last year. Our complete annual rankings for the men’s hammer are below. Read more

Why athletes need to give back

One of the constant struggles we have in Switzerland is keeping athletes involved in the sport after they retire. If you look at the all-time list in the hammer throw, only two of the top 25 throwers (myself included) are actively coaching. A few others coached briefly, but for the most part once athletes retire we will never see them again. Read more

Consensus 2018 world hammer throw rankings

Last week we posted our hammer throw world men’s rankings and women’s rankings. Some of the other leading publications also released their rankings recently, including Track and Field News and Athletics Weekly, both compiled by expert panels. To get a picture of what the consensus rankings are, we’ve averaged out all the major rankings services, including the new IAAF ranking system. Read more