The athletics community suffered a enormous loss on May 11 when Shaun Pickering unexpectedly passed away. He was an Olympic athlete, coach, and fan. But more than anything he was the man behind the scenes that helped push the sport forward. To help remember him, we’re joined this week by some of his best friends including Vesteinn Hafsteinsson, Charles van Commenee, Robert Weir, Frank Dick, and Don Babbitt.Read more
Tag Archive for: Throwing History
The 2000 Olympic Trials remains one of the most historic shot put competitions in the history of the sport. In the fifth round underdog Andy Bloom stepped into the ring, bent over into his iconic starting position, and unleashed a massive throw to secure his spot on the Olympic team. That wasn’t just luck; Bloom had spent his whole career developing a simple technique that he could execute under pressure. On this week’s podcast Bloom looks back at his career, break down his own technique, and discusses his thoughts on throwing and training.Read more
Three years ago I rolled out a list of the top moustaches in throwing history in honor of Movember. From Mac Wilkins to Jean-Pierre Egger, and Yuriy Sedykh to Aleksandr Bagach, moustaches of all varieties were present.
But a moustache is just the first step on the facial hair train. So in honor of No Shave November, I bring you some of the best beards in throwing history. These throwers have truly taken it to the next level. As I am sure I have missed some, please add them to the comments below or contact me directly.
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The 1890s were a tumultuous time for the hammer throw. The event was quickly transforming into the modern version and the scene was so chaotic that there wasn’t even a clear world record holder. It was similar to how boxing currently has multiple world champions in each weight class due to the numerous sanctioning bodies. The problem in the hammer was that there were no clear rules. You had a world record holder for throwing different weights. For throwing a hammer with a wooden handle or with a flexible handle. There were record for both the 7-foot, and 9-foot circles, and for throwing from a square. The only constant in these times was the winner: without fail it be an Irishman.
In part one and part two of my training talk with throwing great Ed Burke, we discussed his long journey to 1984 in which he retired after making two Olympic teams and then came back to throw a personal best at age 44 and qualify for his third Olympic team in 1984.
The last part of our training talk centers around that pivotal time. We start by talking about what the youth program he set up immediately after his second retirement that ended up producing hundreds of throwers and multiple Olympians. It started off as a simple idea and can serve as a template for helping growing the sport. Then we also talk about 1984 itself and what it was like to be selected and actual carry the American flag at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.
Part 3: Youth Development and Carrying the American Flag
Martin: You had been away from the sport nearly 30 years before you came back as a masters athlete. Did you not throw the hammer at all during that time?
Ed: Oh no. Well, I shouldn’t say that. In 1985 I started the Explorer’s Post club with Mac Wilkins. I would demonstrate to the athletes and probably hold the world record for throwing the hammer in Rockport walking shoes.
In part one of our training talk with US hammer throwing legend Ed Burke we talked about how he started out in the event and developed into one of the top throwers in the world. After reaching the top of the sport and making his second Olympic team, Burke abruptly retired in 1968. But the retirement was not permanent and he came back to the sport and threw a personal best of 74.34 meters and made another Olympic team at the age of 44. Then, after retiring again, he came back two decades later to compete as a master’s athlete and set several world records.
Part two discusses why he left the sport and why it kept calling him back.
Part 2: The Comebacks
Martin: Both after the 1968 and 1984 Olympics you took extended breaks from the sport. What was the reason for retiring?
Like baseball, track and field is a sport for history and statistic buffs. Before the internet, the best way to follow the sport was simply by looking at the numbers and results. While the internet allows us to watch more events live, it also gives us access to results from a plethora of smaller competitions we would have never heard of otherwise. Show me a six-round series of throws and I can see the story of the meet come alive. Following these statistics is half the fun of the sport for me.
Italian statistician Roberto Quercetani is the grandfather of athletics statisticians. He helped found the Association of Track and Field Statisticians and served as its president from 1950 to 1968. Now, having just turned 90 years old, he has released his latest book: “A World History of the Throwing Events (1860-2011 Men and Women).” Read more
It’s Movember again. Which means that for the past week thousands of men around the world have rediscovered what it means to be a man and started to grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. The movement started over a decade ago in Australia and has slowly spread throughout the world. Last year it generated 7.5 million dollars in donations in the US alone, and much more worldwide.
It tribute of men and moustaches, I’ve compiled a list of some of the greatest moustaches to ever enter a throwing ring (because this month is meant to raise issues for men’s health, I did not include any of the infamous East German female throwers).
Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.