Competitions and rules
Competitors take their throw from inside a circle 2.135 metres (7 feet) in diameter, with a toe board approximately 4" high at the front of the circle. The shot must land within an angle of approximately 30 degrees. The athlete must rest the shot in between the neck and shoulder and keep it tight to the neck while throwing. At the end of the throw, the thrower must push the throwing arm straight with the thumb pointing down; if the thrower does not push the ball out and throws it like a baseball, the thrower may receive injury. Throwing a shot requires immense strength and power as well as grace and balance; while not as much so as discus, shot put is not merely heaving a metal ball but requires finesse. The shot putters must enter and leave the circle from the rear half of the circle, or a foul is called. Other fouls include stepping out of the circle before the judge calls the mark, letting some article of clothing touch the top of the toeboard or outside the circle, and/or the shot falling outside of the borders to the left and the right. The distance thrown is measured from the front of the circle to where the shot lands at its nearest disturbance of the soil.
Each competitor gets a certain number of throws, usually 6 in elite competition, and the competitor with the farthest legal put is declared the winner. In men's competition, the shot weighs approximately 7.26kg (16 pounds). The women's shot weighs 4 kg (8.8 pounds).
Shot put competitions have been held at the Summer Olympic Games since their inception, and is also included as an event in the indoor world championships. While the event is popular, competitors generally do not gain the same recognition as track athletes.
The shot put originates from Highland games 'stone put' where Scottish people put a rounded cube stone or metal form of considerable weight from behind a given line.
There are currently two putting styles in use by shot put competitors, the glide and the spin. The first involves sidestepping to the front of the circle and releasing the shotput (the glide, invented in 1876 in the United States). In 1951, Parry O'Brien of the United States invented a technique that involves the putter facing backwards, spinning 180 degrees across the circle, and then tossing the shot. From this, in 1976, Brian Oldfield popularized a technique which involves rotating like a discus thrower (the spin). The inventor of the spin is unknown although it was first used by the Germans in the early 1970's.
In both cases, the key is to gain maximum forward velocity to help speed the shot on its way. Currently, most top shot putters use the spin, but the glide remains popular especially at the amateur level since the technique is easier to master. It is noteworthy that the number one distance all time by a male putter (Randy Barnes) was completed with the spin technique and the close second-best all-time distance (Ulf Timmermann) was completed with the glide technique.
The current (as of November 2018) world record holders are:
- Randy Barnes (Outdoor) 23.12 m (75 ft 10¼ in) in Parlier, CA, USA achieved on May 20, 1990
- Randy Barnes (Indoor) 22.66 m (74 ft 4¼ in) in Los Angeles, CA, USA achieved on January 20, 1989
And for women:
- Natalya Lisovskaya (Outdoor) 22.63 m in Moscow, URS achieved on June 7, 1987
- Helena Fibingerová (Indoor) 22.50 m in Jablonec, TCH achieved on February 19, 1977
The top distances for the last decade have decreased, especially for women, perhaps due to increased anti-doping efforts.
The Shot put in Greece
The current (as of November 2018) Greek records for the shot put are held:
- For the men, by Dimitris Koutsoukis (20.74m) achieved on July 16, 1989.
- For the women, by Irene Terzoglou (19.10m) achieved on June 14, 2003.
Athletes - Men
- Miltiades Gouskos
- Sotiris Versis
- Elias Verginis
- Kostas Giataganas
- Antonis Kounadis
- Aristides Roubanis
- Giorgos Tsakanikas
- Nikos Tsiaras
- Giorgos Lemonis
- Loukas Louka
- Alexios Leonidis
- Michalis Stamatoyiannis
- Dimitris Koutsoukis
Athletes - Women