Shot Put

Shot Put

A poised, muscular athlete stands alone on a small, circular cement slab. He hold a heavy metal ball in one hand and extends his other hand away from his body to keep his balance. Concentrating intensely… picturing in his mind the way he wants his body to move… he slowly raises the ball to shoulder level. Then, thrusting his body forward in one short side-hop, he violently twists his torso and heaves the heavy projectile in a strenuous burst of energy. This is the Olympics’ event of shot putting. In ancient days, athletes competed in this event by seeing how far they could throw large, heavy stones. However, present day athletes use a small, but heavy, iron ball. Weights range as low as eight pounds for beginners, to sixteen pound shots for advanced competitors. Success in this event depends largely on being able to get the full force of the body behind the heave. The throwing platform, or put is usually a seven foot circular cement slab with an arc-shaped wooden stopboard at the very front. Standing at the back of the put, the shotputter balances the shot in his fingers. Then he hops forward until his leading foot is near the stopboard. He then heaves the shot, and as he does so, the momentum forces him to turn and twist his body to keep his balance and stay within the put… a requirement of the event. The throw is measured from the nearest edge of the first break in the ground caused by the landing shot, to the nearest point on the inside edge of the shot-put circle.