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Discus throw

The discus throw is an event in track and field competition, in which an athlete throws a heavy disc — itself called a discus — in an attempt to mark a farther distance than his or her competitors. It is an ancient sport, as evidenced by the 5th century BC Myron statue, Discobolus. Although not part of the modern pentathlon, it was one of the events of the ancient pentathlon, which can be dated at least back to 708 BC.

A routine part of most modern track and field meets at all levels, it is a sport which is particularly iconic of the Olympic Games. The men's competition has been a part of the modern Summer Olympic Games since the first Olympiad in 1896. Images of discus throwers figured prominently in advertising for early modern Games, such as fundraising stamps for the 1896 games and 1920 olympics poster.jpg for the 1920 and 1948 Summer Olympics.

The women's competition was added to the Olympic program in the 1928 games, although they had been competing at some national and regional levels previously.

Description

The discus, the object to be thrown, is a heavy lenticular disc with a diameter of 220 mm (8.66 inches) and a weight of two kilograms (4 lb 7 oz) for the men's event, and a diameter of 181 mm (7.17 inches) and a weight of one kg (2 lb 3 oz) for the women's event. In U.S. high school track and field, boys typically throw a discus weighing 1.616 kg (3 lb 9 oz) and the girls throw the 1 kg (2.2 lb) women's disc. The discus can be thrown starting at age 11 (midget division). Most children throw the 1 kg discus. The discus usually has sides made of rubber, plastic, wood, or metal with a metal rim and a metal core to attain the weight. A discus with more weight in the rim produces greater angular momentum for any given spin rate, and thus more stability, although it is more difficult to throw. A practice discus made of solid rubber is often used in High School; it is cheaper, more durable, and easier to learn to throw (due to its more equal distribution of weight, as opposed to the heavy rim weight of the metal rim/core discus).

To make a throw, the competitor starts in a slightly recessed concrete-surfaced circle of 2.5 meters (8 feet 2½ inches) diameter. The thrower typically takes an initial stance facing away from the direction of the throw. He then spins around one and a half times through the circle to build momentum, then releases his throw. The discus must land within a 40-degree or 60-degree arc marked by lines on the landing zone, and the competitor must not exit the circle until the discus has landed, then must wait for the judge to give clearance to exit the ring from the rear half. The distance from the front edge of the circle to where the discus has landed is measured, and distances are rounded down to the nearest centimeter or half-inch. The competitor's best throw from the allocated number of throws, typically three to six, is recorded, and the competitor who legally throws the discus the farthest is declared the winner. Ties are broken by determining which thrower has the longer second-best throw.

The basic motion is a forehanded sidearm movement. The discus is spun off the index finger or the middle finger of the throwing hand, spinning clockwise when viewed above for a right-handed thrower, and vice-versa. As well as achieving maximum momentum in the discus on throwing, the discus' distance is also determined by the trajectory the thrower imparts, as well as the aerodynamic behaviour of the discus. Generally, one wishes to throw into a moderate headwind to achieve maximum throws. Also, a faster-spinning discus imparts greater gyroscopic stability. The technique of discus throwing is quite difficult to master and needs lots of experience to get right, thus most top throwers are thirty years old or older.

A comon technique employed by younger people is to not spin at all, but to jump forward a step to gather momentum. Although it doesn't provide as much power, it is easier to do.

Olympic competition

Despite the long association of the discus with the Olympics, the Games have only twice produced a world record. In the inaugural men's event in Athens, American Bob Garrett overcame an earlier world record-setting throw by Panagiotis Paraskevopoulos to win the gold. Similarly, in the first women's event in 1928, Polish thrower Halina Konopacka set a world record in the event.

Since these initial performances, however, world records have only been set outside Olympic venues.

Top Ten Performers

Accurate as of October 3, 2008.. All distances are in meters.

Men

MARK ATHLETE VENUE DATE
74.08 Neubrandenburg June 6, 1986
73.88 Kaunas August 3, 2000
73.38 Helsingborg September 4, 2006
71.86 Moscow May 29, 1983
71.70 Szombathely July 14, 2002
71.50 Wiesbaden May 3, 1997
71.32 Eugene June 4, 1983
71.26 San Jose June 9, 1984
71.26 Malmö November 15, 1984
71.26 San Jose May 25, 1985

Women

MARK ATHLETE VENUE DATE
76.80 Neubrandenburg July 9, 1989
74.56 Nitra August 26, 1984
74.56 Neubrandenburg July 23, 1989
74.08 Karl-Marx-Stadt June 20, 1987
73.84 Bucharest April 30, 1988
73.36 Prague August 17, 1984
73.28 Donetsk September 8, 1984
73.23 Kazanlak April 19, 1987
73.10 Berlin July 20, 1984
72.92 Potsdam August 20, 1987

World Record Progress

Men

MARK ATHLETE VENUE DATE
47.58 New York 1912-05-27
47.61 Chicago 1924-09-14
47.89 San Francisco 1925-05-02
48.20 Palo Alto 1926-04-02
49.90 Palo Alto 1929-03-09
51.03 Palo Alto 1930-05-17
51.73 Pittsburgh 1930-08-23
52.42 Oslo 1934-08-25
53.10 Magdeburg 1935-04-28
53.26 Palo Alto 1941-06-20
53.34 Milano 1941-10-26
54.23 Milano 1946-04-14
54.93 Minneapolis 1946-06-08
55.33 Milano 1948-10-10
56.46 Lisbon 1949-07-09
56.97 Hameenlinna 1949-08-14
57.93 Lincoln 1953-06-20
58.10 Pasadena 1953-07-11
59.28 Pasadena 1953-08-22
59.91 Warsaw 1959-06-14
59.91 Walnut 1960-08-12
60.56 Frankfurt 1961-08-11
60.72 Brussels 1961-08-20
61.10 Los Angeles 1962-05-18
61.64 Leningrad 1962-06-04
62.45 Chicago 1962-07-01
62.62 Walnut 1963-04-27
62.94 Walnut 1964-04-25
64.55 Turnov 1964-08-02
65.22 Sokolov 1965-10-12
66.54 Modesto 1968-05-25
68.40 Reno 1968-09-18
68.40 Stockholm 1972-07-05
68.48 Stellenbosch 1975-03-14
69.08 Long Beach 1975-05-03
69.18 Walnut 1976-04-24
69.80 San Jose 1976-05-01
70.24 San Jose 1976-05-01
70.86 San Jose 1976-05-01
71.16 Berlin 1978-08-09
71.86 Moscow 1983-05-29
74.08 Neubrandenburg 1986-06-06

Women

MARK ATHLETE VENUE DATE
27.39 Paris 1923-09-23
27.70 Paris 1924-07-14
28.325 Brussels 1924-07-21
30.225 Paris 1924-09-14
31.15 Prague 1925-10-11
34.15 Warsaw 1926-05-23
38.34 Braunschweig 1926-08-22
39.18 Warsaw 1927-09-04
39.62 Amsterdam 1928-07-31
40.345 Pabianice 1932-05-15
40.39 Lodz 1932-05-16
40.84 Hagen 1932-06-19
42.43 Lodz 1932-06-19
43.08 Królewska Huta 1933-07-15
43.795 London 1934-08-11
44.34 Ulm 1935-06-02
44.76 Nuremberg 1935-06-04timmay
45.53 Munich 1935-06-23
46.10 Jena 1935-06-29
47.12 Dresden 1935-08-25
48.31 Dresden 1936-07-11
53.25 Moscow 1948-08-08
53.37 Gori 1951-05-27
53.61 Odessa 1952-08-09
57.04 Tblisi 1952-10-18
57.15 Rome 1960-09-12
57.43 Moscow 1961-07-15
58.06 Sofia 1961-09-01
58.98 London 1961-09-20
59.29 Moscow 1963-05-19
59.70 Moscow 1965-08-11
61.26 São Paulo 1967-11-05
61.64 Regis-Breitingen 1968-05-26
62.54 Werdohl 1968-08-24
62.70 Berlin 1969-06-18
63.96 Hamburg 1969-09-27
64.22 Helsinki 1971-08-12
64.88 Munich 1971-09-04
65.42 Moscow 1972-05-31
65.48 Augsburg 1972-06-24
66.76 Moscow 1972-08-04
67.32 Bucharest 1972-09-23
67.44 Riga 1973-05-25
67.58 Moscow 1973-07-11
69.48 Edinburgh 1973-09-07
69.90 Prague 1974-05-27
70.20 Zurich 1975-08-20
70.50 Sochi 1976-04-24
70.72 Dresden 1978-08-12
71.50 Potsdam 1980-05-10
71.80 Sofia 1980-07-15
73.26 Lessilidse 1983-05-23
73.36 Prague 1984-08-17
74.56 Nitra 1984-08-26
76.80 Neubrandenburg 1988-07-09

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