The hammer is a three-part device that includes a metal ball (normally steel or brass, but may be any metal not softer than brass), and a steel wire ending with a handle. This is the only throwing competition in which throwers may wear gloves, and both hands are use to hold the handle. Men throw a 7.26 kg ball, with a diameter ranging between 110-130 mm, while women throw a 4 kg version with a diameter of 95-100 mm.

Throwing area

The throwing circle has a diameter of 2.135 m (7 ft). It is permissible to touch the inside of the circle's rim but not to touch the top of the rim during the throw. The thrower may not touch the ground outside the throwing circle, nor leave the circle until the implement hits the ground. The circle is surrounded on three sides by a cage that can be 10 meters high, to ensure the safety of the bystanders.  It is thrown into a pie shaped sector, with an included angle of 34.92 degrees.


Once a pure strength event, technical advancements have evolved so that speed is now of the essence.

The throwing motion starts with two swings with the athlete stationary, then three or four rotations of the body. The ball moves in a circle, gradually increasing speed with each turn with the high point of the ball toward the sector and the low point at the back of the circle. The ball is released from the front of the circle.

The angle of release needs to be 45 degrees from the horizontal. The ball speed when the men's world record was set in 2011 was over 90 miles per hour.

Main regulations

1. Implement must have weight, length, diameter, handle and centre of gravity all certified as follows:


Minimum weight

   Senior Men
   Junior men
   Youth men

Min wire length
Max wire length
Min ball diam
Max ball diam


Minimum weight

   Senior women
   Junior women
   Youth women

Min wire length
Max wire length
Min ball diam
Max ball diam

7.26 kg (16 pounds)


4kg (8.82 lb)


The handle must form an isosceles triangle with the long sides 110 mm, be of rigid construction, and not stretch while being thrown.

The wire must be an unbroken straight length of spring-steel wire not less than 3mm in diameter, which must not stretch while being thrown.

The centre of gravity of the head shall not be more than 6mm from the centre of the sphere.

2. Thrower must stay in the circle (7 feet in diameter) until implement lands.

3. The thrower must wait until the implement has landed before exiting the back half of circle under control.

4. Implement must land in sector (34.92 degrees).

5. Any throw that lands in the sector and is not a foot foul is a legal throw.

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This page derived from:

   wikipedia page Hammer throw
   about.com page Olympic Hammer Throw Rules.

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