Competitive Opportunities in the Hammer Throw

Traditionally, the hammer has always been an older man’s event. It was thrown at college and international track meets. From 1900-1940, it was occasionally thrown at the high school level. Rhode Island is currently the only state that sponsors high school hammer throwing; however, there are strong movements underway in California, Washington, and Nevada.

Women’s hammer was added to the Olympic schedule in 2000. Since then the female version of the event has exploded in popularity and has seen steady and dramatic improvements in technique and performance. While the American and collegiate national records are very seldom broken for the men, the women have been consistently breaking their records for the last four years.

In 2003, the USATF (USA Track and Field) Youth Committee voted to include the youth hammer throw in the Junior Olympics. At the 2005 USATF Convention, it was decided that the youth hammer throw would be offered at all regional meets beginning in 2006. This will drastically improve the public view of the event. It is the goal of the USATF to expose more athletes to the event at a younger age to increase the talent pool of the nation’s hammer throwers. Hopefully this will lead to American hammer throwers consistently making it to the podium in major international competitions once again.

Currently, there are some outstanding up and coming young hammer throwers who are rewriting the record books for each age class they progress through. Thanks to Hal Connolly’s dedicated efforts of creating scholarship funds to send young athletes to train and compete overseas, and getting the hammer added to the Junior Olympics and youth events, the future is looking brighter for US Hammer Throwing.