Gold medal distances in the hammer throw at the Summer Olympics 1900-2016

The hammer throw has been included in all Olympic Games as a men's event since 1900, and the women's event was introduced one hundred years later, at the Sydney Games in 2000. The men's hammer weighs 7.26 kilograms and is 1.21 meters in length, while the women's hammer weighs 4 kilograms and is 1.19 meters in length. The traditional technique involves contestants standing still and swinging the ball over their head twice to build some momentum, before swinging the ball while rotating their body four or five times (while moving gradually towards the field boundary), in order to build up as much speed and power as possible before releasing the hammer.

The Olympic records are currently held by the Soviet Union's Sergey Litvinov, with a throw of 84.8 meters in 1988, and Anita Włodarczyk of Poland, with a throw of 82.29 meters in 2016. Włodarczyk also holds the women's world record of 82.98 meters (she is the first and only woman to throw more than 80 meters), while Yuriy Sedykh throw of 86.74 meters for the Soviet Union in 1986 still stands as the men's world record. In the early Olympic Games, the United States dominated the event, taking gold in the first six hammer throw events, however (ex-)Soviet and Eastern European athletes have dominated the sport since the Second World War. The US' John Flanagan won the first three gold medals, and remains the only athlete to ever win more than two Olympic golds in the sport; although Anita Włodarczyk could match this feat if she claims victory in Tokyo 2020.

Gold medal winning distances in the Men's and Women's hammer throw at the Summer Olympics from 1900 to 2016

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Release date




Survey time period

1900 to 2016

Supplementary notes

This data was collected using the official site, as well as a spreadsheet from the Guardian that includes data from 1896-2008 (available here), 2012 and 2016 data was compared with that from Encyclopaedia Britannica, and several news outlets were used to update the table when medals were reassigned (i.e. for doping offenses).

The winning athletes (male listed first) and their represented countries are as follows:
1900 - John Flanagan (US)
1904 - John Flanagan (US)
1908 - John Flanagan (US)
1912 - Matt McGrath (US)
1920 - Patrick Ryan (US)
1924 - Fred Tootell (US)
1928 - Patrick O'Callaghan (Ireland)
1932 - Patrick O'Callaghan (Ireland)
1936 - Karl Hein (Germany)
1948 - Imre Nemeth (Hungary)
1952 - Joszef Csermak (Hungary)
1956 - Harold Connolly (US)
1960 - Vasili Rudenkov (Soviet Union)
1964 - Romuald Klim (Soviet Union)
1968 - Gyula Zsivotsky (Hungary)
1972 - Anatoli Bondarchuk (Soviet Union)
1976 - Yuri Sedykh (Soviet Union)
1980 - Yuri Sedykh (Soviet Union)
1984 - Juha Tainen (Finland)
1988 - Sergey Litvinov (Soviet Union)
1992 - Andrey Abduvaile (Unified Team)
1996 - Balazs Kiss (Hungary)
2000 - Szymon Ziolkowski (Poland) & Kamila Skolimowska (Poland)
2004 - Koji Murofushi (Japan) & Olga Kuzenkova (Russia)
2008 - Primoz Kozmus (Slovenia) & Yipsi Moreno (Cuba)
2012 - Krisztian Pars (Hungary) & Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland)
2016 - Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) & Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland)

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