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Track and Field: Throwing Events
It's always fun to see who can throw something the furthest, whether it's a ball, a Frisbee, or even a rock. Track and field is the place where you can throw stuff for distance as a real sport. There are four major throwing events outlined below. Not all of them are for kids, but when you hit middle school you may get to start trying out some of them and that may prepare you for later if you want to try the rest in high school or colleges.
In the discus event the athlete throws a round lens shaped metal disc. The disc weighs 4 pounds 7 ounces and is 8.66 inches in diameter. When throwing the discus the athlete is in a round throwing area. Their feet can't leave this area before the discus lands or they will fault and the throw won't count. The athlete will spin around to gain momentum and speed and then release the discus in the proper direction. The one that throws it furthest from the front part of the circle (and within the legal area) wins.
The javelin is something like a spear. This event isn't for kids and should be supervised at all levels to be sure no one is hurt. The official javelin size is 2.2 to 2.3 meters long and weighs 600 grams. The javelin must be thrown a specific way for it to be a legal throw. This is different from the other throwing events where, although there are proven good techniques to get a long throw, you don't have to throw them in a particular way. With the javelin an athlete has to:
1) Hold the javelin by its grip and nowhere else
2) Throw the javelin overhand (we're not sure underhand would work too well anyway)
3) They cannot turn their back to the target when throwing (this means they can't spin)
When throwing the javelin, the athlete runs down a track to gain momentum and then must throw the javelin prior to crossing a line. They cannot go over the line until the javelin lands which means they need to leave some extra space to slow down and have really good balance at the end of their throw.
In the shot put throwing event athletes throw a 16kg (pretty heavy!) metal ball. This sport actually started with a cannonball throwing competition in the English army. In the shot put the athlete must stay in a circle until the shot put has landed. This is similar to the discus throw. In the shot put the athlete holds the shot put close to his/her neck in one hand. Then they spin around gaining momentum and finally they throw the shot put in a shoving manner in the direction of the legal landing area.
The hammer throw doesn't actually involve throwing a hammer like you would think. In this track and field throwing event the athletes throw a heavy ball (16 pounds) that is attached to a handle with a long (4 feet) chain. Like the discus and the shot put, the athlete must stay in a circle until the hammer lands. They spin several times to gain momentum prior to releasing and throwing the hammer. Balance is important due to the force generated by having the heavy ball at the end of the long chain.