Tag Archive for: Betty Heidler

Coaching Roundtable: Chris Cralle Video Analysis

This is the first post in the new Coaching Roundtable series, which will bring together top coaches from the around the world to give their different perspectives on the same topic. The first roundtable brings together three of the top hammer coaches for a video analysis session. In addition, feel free to also leave your comments below. Subjects for the coaching roundtable are chosen exclusively among members of this site.

The Subject

Chris Cralle
Chris Cralle seemed to come out of nowhere last year with a personal best of 74.36 meters to place second at the U.S. Olympic Trials. While he was off of most people’s radar before the meet, he still had a strong resume including NCAA All-American honors while attending Sam Houston State University and a gold medal at the 2010 NACAC Under-23 Championships. Since graduating in 2011, he has continued to live in Huntsville, Texas where he is self-coached, although he does seek occasional advice primarily from coaches Freddie Hannie and Shaun McGinley. Cralle started throwing hammer just before starting college at age 18, and just turned 24 days before the Olympic Trials.

The Coaches

Michael Deyhle is the German national coach, as well the coach at the Eintracht Frankfurt club where he guides women’s world record holder Betty Heidler.

Derek Evely served most recently as Director of the UK Athletics Loughborough National Performance Centre. In addition, he has guided several hammer throwers including Sophie Hitchon, who at age 21 set a national record to become the youngest Olympic finalist last summer. Evely is strongly influenced by Anatoliy Bondarchuk, who he recruited to and worked alongside with in Kamloops, Canada.

Vladimir Kevo is the former Yugoslavia national champion in the hammer throw who is best known for guiding Primož to Olympic and World Championships in 2008 and 2009. Since then, Kevo has continued to train a small group of throwers in Brežice, Slovenia including European Junior Champion and World Junior Championships runner-up Barbara Špiler.
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Observing the Kinetic Chain

While most countries saw their sport-science research nearly dissapear after the cold war ended, a united Germany continued with the same determination ever since and have pushed out new studies with regularity. Just last month, an Egyptian doctoral student Marwa Sakr completed a doctoral dissertation at the Universität Konstanz in Southern Germany focusing solely on the biomechanics on the women’s hammer throw. After hearing about her initial plans two years ago, I was eagerly awaiting the results.

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Betty Heidler, Kathrin Klaas, and Mareike Nannen show off the study’s measurement equipment.

Sakr’s research in many ways was an extension of Koji Murofushi’s research from several years ago. She created a device similar to Koji’s to help measure the energy throughout the throw. But the focus of her work was not simply measuring the kinetic energy levels throughout the body and hammer during the throw, but also to look at how the energy moved sequentially through the human body by looking at correlations between the energy levels of different parts. This was the first time a study has looked at the kinetic chain in the hammer throw and it is built upon the “kinetic link principle” which says that segments reach their maximum of speed consecutively beginning with those at the far end of the kinetic chain. In other words, the theory is that the kinetic energy travels from the ground up and into the hammer.
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Looking Back on 2012: Top Hammer Throwing Stories

In an Olympic year, naturally many of the highlights came from London. But there were many more great stories throughout the season. Here is a selection of the top hammer throwing stories from the 2012 season, both good and bad.
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Looking Back at 2012: Women’s Rankings

The women's hammer throw podium at the London Olympics.

The women’s hammer throw podium at the London Olympics.

Although we did not see another world record this year, the women’s hammer throw was perhaps the most exciting event in track and field with a handful of throwers brushing up against the barrier. The Olympic final had five women over 76 meters and eight over 74 meters making it by far the deepest competition ever. Below I’ve compiled my top ten female throwers of the year. Earlier this week I posted my men’s rankings. Check back next week when I will recap some of the greatest moments of the year. If you want some additional statistics for the season, check out the IAAF’s performance lists.


1. Tatyana Lysenko (RUS) – This year was an Olympic year. For hammer throwers more than anyone, London was truly a once-in-four-year chance at glory. As was the case last year, Lysenko had the right timing and convincingly won the Olympic final in the deepest competition of all-time. While Lysenko only won 6 of her 14 competitions, she also was on the podium in 13 of those meets and had the second furthest throw of the year. With a stronger overall season to add to her gold medal this year, she was able to move up a spot to number one.
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Looking Back on 2011: Best Moments in Hammer Throwing

I’ve ranked the top ten men. I’ve ranked the top ten women. But there are many moments that can’t be captured in athlete’s rankings. Throughout 2011 there were some great events in hammer throwing that were one-off occurrences or even something a non-thrower accomplishes. Below is a list of my favorite moments in hammer throwing from the past year.
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Looking Back at 2011: Women’s Rankings

Betty Heidler's world record helped her earn first

With a new world record and a new world champion, 2011 was an exciting year for the women’s hammer throw. Below I’ve compiled my top ten throwers of the year. Check back next week when I will recap some of the greatest moments of the year. If you want some stats for the season, check out the IAAF’s performance lists.


1. Betty Heidler (GER). As with my men’s rankings, my top ranked woman in 2011 also did not win the World Championships. But she did set a new world record that is tantalizingly close to 80 meters. This was also the only outdoor track and field record of 2011. She was also strong before and after Worlds, with eight straight win before and four afterwards and nine of the top ten performance of 2011. In addition to her record in Halle, she easily captured a win in the IAAF World Hammer Challenge where she won each meet she entered by an average of more than 3 meters. Even her runner-up mark of 76.06 meters at the World Championships would have been good enough to beat her competitors any other meet in 2011. She may have just won silver in Daegu, but she was the class of the field this year.
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2011 World Championships Preview: Women’s Hammer Throw

Betty Heidler hopes to be victorious like she was at her last World Championship in Asia.

Perhaps the event with the best chance of setting a world record at this year’s world championship is the women’s hammer throw. Betty Heidler nearly became the first woman in history to break 80 meters earlier this season with her impressive throw of 79.42 meters in Halle. With that throw, she broke the second of Anita Wlordaczyk’s world records. Before Wlordaczyk was Tatyana Lysenko, who held the mark from 2006 to 2009. While Heidler and Lysenko have already met this year, Daegu is the first time this year that all three will face each other. It is rare for three world record holders to be in the same competition, but it is rarer still that they are all in the prime of their careers. At age 27, Lysenko is the oldest of the trio. The exciting men’s final produced season’s bests by all of the medalists. A similar result will create some some early fireworks as the women’s hammer takes place on Sunday, the final day of the meet. Below you will find a preview of these three women and the other contenders for medals.
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