What’s a shot put?

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Shot put is a track and field event where athletes throw a metal weight called a shot. It has ancient origins and was included in the first modern Olympic Games. The shot is thrown within a circle and can be made of brass or iron. There are two main techniques: glide and spin. Most top male athletes prefer spin.

A shot put is an athletic event in track and field in which the athlete throws or places a metal weight called a shot. This event has ancient origins in strongman contests, where stones were originally thrown instead of metal balls. Events such as the stone setting of the Scottish Highland Games and the Steinstossen originating in Switzerland are forerunners. The shot put was included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been an event at every Summer Olympic Games since then.

A shot put is performed within a 7-foot (2.14-meter) circle with a four-inch (10 cm) high spike at the leading edge. Distance is measured from within the circumference of the circle to the nearest ground disturbance caused by the strike. The shot can be made of brass or any heavier metal, though brass and iron are the most common. Regulatory weights are 16 pounds (7.26 kilograms) for men and 8.8 pounds (4 kg) for women. Each contestant typically has six tosses, and the best single toss is the winner.

The shot puter must enter the front half of the circle but must not leave the circle during the shot. The shot should be thrown from the shoulder and propelled from the fingertips, not thrown like a baseball. Using an improper form is cause for disqualification.

There are two main techniques in shot put: glide and spin. In both techniques, the athlete starts facing the back of the hoop. In the glide, he leaps forward as he turns and delivers the jab, “gliding” through the hoop. In the spin, the thrower simply rotates as he throws, without his feet leaving the ground.

Shot puts have had success using both techniques. Gliding is usually mastered first and has more consistent results. However, most top male athletes prefer spin.

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