File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-44941-0006, Plihan.jpg

The shot put is a track and field event involving "throwing"/"putting" (throwing in a pushing motion) a heavy spherical object —the shot—as far as possible. The shot put competition for men has been a part of the modern Olympics since their revival in 1896, women's competition began in 1948.



Homer makes mention of competitions of rock throwing by soldiers during the Siege of Troy but there is no record of any dead weights being thrown in Greek competitions. The first evidence for stone- or weight-throwing events date back more than 2000 years in the Scottish Highlands.[1] In the 16th century King Henry VIII was noted for his prowess in court competitions of weight and hammer throwing.[citation needed]

The first events resembling the modern shot put likely occurred in the Middle Ages when soldiers held competitions in which they hurled cannonballs. Shot put competitions were first recorded in early 19th century Scotland, and were a part of the British Amateur Championships beginning in 1866.[2]

Competitors take their throw from inside a marked circle 2.135 metres (7.00 ft) in diameter, with a stopboard about 10 centimetres (3.9 in) high at the front of the circle. The distance thrown is measured from the inside of the circumference of the circle to the nearest mark made in the ground by the falling shot, with distances rounded down to the nearest centimetre under IAAF and WMA rules.

Legal throws

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-44941-0005, Jiri Skobla.jpg

The following rules are adhered to for a legal throw:

  • Upon calling the athlete's name, they have sixty seconds to commence the throwing motion.
  • The athlete may not wear gloves; IAAF rules permit the taping of individual fingers.
  • The athlete must rest the shot close to the neck, and keep it tight to the neck throughout the motion.
  • The shot must be released above the height of the shoulder, using only one hand.
  • The athlete may touch the inside surface of the circle or stopboard, but must not touch the top or outside of the circle or stopboard, or the ground beyond the circle. Limbs may however extend over the lines of the circle in the air.
  • The shot must land in the legal sector (34.92°) of the throwing area.
  • The athlete must leave the throwing circle from the back.

Foul throws occur when an athlete:

  • Does not pause within the circle before beginning the throwing motion.
  • Does not begin the throwing movement within sixty seconds of having his or her name called.
  • Allows the shot to drop below his shoulder or outside the vertical plane of his shoulder during the put.
  • During the throwing motion, touches with any part of the body (including shoes):
    • the top or ends of the stop board
    • the top of the iron ring
    • anywhere outside the circle.
  • Throws a shot which either falls outside the throwing sector or touches a sector line on the initial impact.
  • Leaves the circle before the shot has landed.
  • Does not leave from the rear half of the circle.


The following are either obsolete or non-existent but commonly believed rules:

  • The athlete must enter the circle from the back (none of the rule books contain such a clause).
  • The athlete entering the circle, then exiting and re-entering it prior to starting the throw results in a foul (all the rule books allow an athlete to leave a circle prior to starting a throw, but this still counts within the one minute time limit; the allowable method of exiting the circle varies by rule book).
  • Loose clothing, shoelaces, or long hair touching outside the circle during a throw, or an athlete bringing a towel into the circle and then throwing it out prior to the put results in a foul (these are no longer rules or never were rules—none of these actions provide unfair advantage to the thrower).



Shot put competitions have been held at the modern Summer Olympic Games since their inception in 1896, and it is also included as an event in the World Athletics Championships.

Each competition has a set number of rounds of throws. Typically there are three preliminary rounds to determine qualification for the final, and then three more rounds in the final. Each competitor is credited with their longest throw, regardless of whether it was achieved in the preliminary or final rounds. The competitor with the longest legal put is declared the winner.

In open competitions the men's shot weighs 7.260 kilograms (16.01 lb), and the women's shot weighs 4 kilograms (8.8 lb). Junior, school, and masters competitions often use different weights of shots, typically below the weights of those used in open competitions; the individual rules for each competition should be consulted in order to determine the correct weights to be used.

Putting styles

Two putting styles are in current general use by shot put competitors: the glide and the spin. With all putting styles, the goal is to release the shot with maximum forward velocity at an angle of approximately forty degrees.


The origin of the glide dates to 1951, when Parry O'Brien of the United States invented a technique that involved the putter facing backwards, rotating 180 degrees across the circle, and then tossing the shot.

With this technique, a right-hand thrower would begin facing the rear of the circle, and then kick to the front with the left leg, while pushing off forcefully with the right. As the thrower crosses the circle, the hips twist toward the front, the left arm is swung out then pulled back tight, followed by the shoulders, and they then strike in a putting motion with their right arm. The key is to move quickly across the circle with as little air under the feet as possible, hence the name "glide".


In 1972 Aleksandr Baryshnikov set his first USSR record using a new putting style, the spin ("круговой мах" in Russian), invented by his coach Viktor Alexeyev.[3][4] The spin involves rotating like a discus thrower and using rotational momentum for power. In 1976 Baryshnikov went on to set a world record of 22.00 m (72.18 ft) with his spin style, and was the first shot putter to cross the 22 metre mark.[citation needed][5]

With this technique, a right-hand thrower faces the rear, and begins to spin on the ball of the left foot. The thrower comes around and faces the front of the circle and drives the right foot into the middle of the circle. Finally, the thrower reaches for the front of the circle with the left foot, twisting the hips and shoulders like in the glide, and puts the shot.

When the athlete executes the spin, the upper body is twisted hard to the right, so the imaginary lines created by the shoulders and hips are no longer parallel. This action builds up torque, and stretches the muscles, creating an involuntary elasticity in the muscles, providing extra power and momentum. When the athlete prepares to release, the left foot is firmly planted, causing the momentum and energy generated to be conserved, pushing the shot in an upward and outward direction.

Another purpose of the spin is to build up a high rotational speed, by swinging the right leg initially, then to bring all the limbs in tightly, similar to a figure skater bringing in their arms while spinning to increase their speed. Once this fast speed is achieved the shot is released, transferring the energy into the shot put.


Currently, most top male shot putters use the spin. However the glide remains popular, especially at the amateur level and among women, since the technique leads to greater consistency compared to the rotational technique. Almost all throwers start by using the glide.

It is worth noting that the world record by a male putter of 23.120 m (75 ft 10.236 in) by Randy Barnes was completed with the spin technique, while the second-best all-time put of 23.063 m (75 ft 7.992 in) by Ulf Timmermann was completed with the glide technique.

Measuring which technique can provide the most potential is difficult, as many of the best throws recorded with each technique have been completed by athletes under doping suspicions, or with a record of drug violations.[citation needed] The decision to glide or spin may need to be decided on an individual basis, determined by the thrower's size and power. Short throwers may benefit from the spin and taller throwers may benefit from the glide, but many throwers do not follow this guideline.

Types of shots

The shot put ball is made of different kinds of materials depending on its intended use. Materials used include iron, cast iron, solid steel, stainless steel, brass, and synthetic materials like polyvinyl. Some metals are more dense than others making the size of the shot vary, for example, indoor shots are larger than outdoor shots, so different materials are used to make them.

World records

The current world record holders are:

Type Athlete Distance Venue Date
Outdoor Randy Barnes[6] Template:T&Fcalc Westwood, California, USA May 20, 1990
Indoor Randy Barnes Template:T&Fcalc Los Angeles, California, USA January 20, 1989
Outdoor Natalya Lisovskaya[7] Template:T&Fcalc Moscow, USSR June 7, 1987
Indoor Helena Fibingerová Template:T&Fcalc Jablonec, CZE February 19, 1977

Continental records

The current records held on each continent are:[8]

Area Men's Women's
Distance Athlete Nation Distance Athlete Nation
Africa Template:T&Fcalc Janus Robberts Template:RSA Template:T&Fcalc Vivian Chukwuemeka Template:NGR
Asia Template:T&Fcalc Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi Template:KSA Template:T&Fcalc Meisu Li Template:CHN
Europe Template:T&Fcalc Ulf Timmermann Template:GDR Template:T&Fcalc WR Natalya Lisovskaya Template:URS
North and Central
America, and Caribbean
Template:T&Fcalc WR Randy Barnes Flag of the United States.svg.png United States Template:T&Fcalc[A] Belsy Laza Template:CUB
Oceania Template:T&Fcalc Scott Martin 23x15px Australia Template:T&Fcalc Valerie Adams 23x15px New Zealand
South America Template:T&Fcalc Marco Antonio Verni Chicago Bears Template:T&Fcalc[A] Elisângela Adriano 23x15px Brazil

Note: A Represents a distance set at a high altitude.[9]

Top ten performers

  • Accurate as of June 2012


Template:T&Fcalc Randy Barnes Flag of the United States.svg.png United States UCLA May 20, 1990
Template:T&Fcalc Ulf Timmermann Template:GDR Khania May 22, 1988
Template:T&Fcalc Alessandro Andrei Flag of Italy.svg.png Italy Viareggio August 12, 1987
Template:T&Fcalc Brian Oldfield Flag of the United States.svg.png United States El Paso May 10, 1975
Template:T&Fcalc Werner Günthör Template:SUI Bern August 23, 1988
Template:T&Fcalc Kevin Toth Flag of the United States.svg.png United States Lawrence April 19, 2003
Template:T&Fcalc Udo Beyer Template:GDR Berlin August 20, 1986
Template:T&Fcalc Christian Cantwell Flag of the United States.svg.png United States Gresham June 5, 2004
Template:T&Fcalc John Brenner Flag of the United States.svg.png United States Walnut April 26, 1987
Template:T&Fcalc Adam Nelson Flag of the United States.svg.png United StatesGresham May 18, 2002


Template:T&Fcalc Natalya Lisovskaya Template:URS Moscow June 7, 1987
Template:T&Fcalc Ilona Briesenick Template:GDR Potsdam May 11, 1980
Template:T&Fcalc Helena Fibingerová Template:TCH Nitra August 20, 1977
Template:T&Fcalc Claudia Losch Template:FRG Hainfeld August 23, 1987
Template:T&Fcalc Ivanka Khristova 23x15px Bulgaria Belmeken July 4, 1976
Template:T&Fcalc Marianne Adam Template:GDR Leipzig June 23, 1979
Template:T&Fcalc Li Meisu Template:CHN Shijiazhuang April 23, 1988
Template:T&Fcalc Natalya Akhrimenko Template:URS Leselidze May 21, 1988
Template:T&Fcalc Vita Pavlysh 23x15px Ukraine Budapest August 15, 1998
Template:T&Fcalc Sui Xinmei Template:CHN Beijing June 9, 1990

Medal winners

Olympic Games medal winners



World Championships medal winners


Year Gold Silver Bronze
1983 Edward Sarul (23x15px Poland) Ulf Timmermann (Template:GDR) Remigius Machura (Template:TCH)
1987 Werner Günthör (Template:SUI) Alessandro Andrei (Flag of Italy.svg.png Italy) John Brenner (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States)
1991 Werner Günthör (Template:SUI) Lars Arvid Nilsen (23x15px Norway) Alexander Klimenko (Template:URS)
1993 Werner Günthör (Template:SUI) Randy Barnes (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Oleksandr Bagach (23x15px Ukraine)
1995 John Godina (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Mika Halvari (23x15px Finland) Randy Barnes (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States)
1997 John Godina (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Oliver-Sven Buder (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Cottrell J. Hunter (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States)
1999 Cottrell J. Hunter (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Oliver-Sven Buder (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Oleksandr Bagach (23x15px Ukraine)
2001 John Godina (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Adam Nelson (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Arsi Harju (23x15px Finland)
2003 Andrei Mikhnevich (Template:BLR) Adam Nelson (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Yuriy Bilonoh (23x15px Ukraine)
2005 Adam Nelson (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Rutger Smith (23x15px Netherlands) Ralf Bartels (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany)
2007 Reese Hoffa (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Adam Nelson (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Andrei Mikhnevich (Template:BLR)
2009 Christian Cantwell (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States) Tomasz Majewski (23x15px Poland) Ralf Bartels (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany)
2011 David Storl (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Dylan Armstrong (Flag of Canada.svg.png Canada) Andrei Mikhnevich (Template:BLR)


Year Gold Silver Bronze
1983 Helena Fibingerová (Template:TCH) Helma Knorscheidt (Template:GDR) Ilona Slupianek (Template:GDR)
1987 Natalya Lisovskaya (Template:URS) Kathrin Neimke (Template:GDR) Ines Müller (Template:GDR)
1991 Huang Zhihong (Template:CHN) Natalya Lisovskaya (Template:URS) Svetlana Krivelyova (Template:URS)
1993 Huang Zhihong (Template:CHN) Svetlana Krivelyova (23x15px Russia) Kathrin Neimke (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany)
1995 Astrid Kumbernuss (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Huang Zhihong (Template:CHN) Svetla Mitkova (
  1. REDIRECT Template:BGR)
1997 Astrid Kumbernuss (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Vita Pavlysh (23x15px Ukraine) Stephanie Storp (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany)
1999 Astrid Kumbernuss (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Nadine Kleinert (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Svetlana Krivelyova (23x15px Russia)
2001 Yanina Karolchyk-Pravalinskaya (Template:BLR) Nadine Kleinert (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Vita Pavlysh (23x15px Ukraine)
2003 Svetlana Krivelyova (23x15px Russia) Nadzeya Astapchuk (Template:BLR) Vita Pavlysh (23x15px Ukraine)
2005 Nadzeya Astapchuk (Template:BLR) Olga Ryabinkina (23x15px Russia) Valerie Vili (23x15px New Zealand)
2007 Valerie Vili (23x15px New Zealand) Nadzeya Astapchuk (Template:BLR) Nadine Kleinert (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany)
2009 Valerie Vili (23x15px New Zealand) Nadine Kleinert (Flag of Germany.svg.png Germany) Gong Lijiao (Template:CHN)
2011 Valerie Adams (23x15px New Zealand) Nadzeya Astapchuk (Template:BLR) Jillian Camarena-Williams (Flag of the United States.svg.png United States)

Best annual performances


1964 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Los Angeles
1965 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete College Station
1966 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Los Angeles
1967 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete College Station
1968 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Walnut
1969 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete</br>Template:Flagathlete Eugene</br>Budapest
1970 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berkeley
1971 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Moscow
1972 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Potsdam
1973 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete San Jose
1974 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Moscow
1975 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete El Paso
1976 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete El Paso
1977 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Düsseldorf
1978 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Gothenburg
1979 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Linz
1980 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Erfurt
1981 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Modesto
1982 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Koblenz
1983 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Los Angeles
1984 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete San Jose
1985 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berlin
1986 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berlin
1987 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Viareggio
1988 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Hania
1989 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berlin
1990 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Westwood
1991 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Oslo
1992 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Los Gatos
1993 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Linz
1994 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete New York City
1995 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Knoxville
1996 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Rüdlingen
1997 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Indianapolis
1998 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Walnut
1999 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Eugene
2000 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Sacramento
2001 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Eugene
2002 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Gresham
2003 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Lawrence
2004 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Gresham
2005 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Carson
2006 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Gateshead
2007 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete London
2008 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Manhattan
2009 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Zagreb
2010 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Eugene
2011 Template:T&Fcalc A Template:Flagathlete Calgary
2012 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Champaign


1968 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Mexico City
1969 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Athens
1970 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Erfurt
1971 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Moscow
1972 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Munich
1973 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Varna
1974 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Gottwaldov
1975 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berlin
1976 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Opava
1977 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Nitra
1978 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berlin
1979 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Potsdam
1980 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Potsdam
1981 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Potsdam
1982 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Potsdam
1983 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Berlin
1984 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Sochi
1985 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Erfurt
1986 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Tallinn
1987 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Moscow
1988 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Tallinn
1989 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Prague
1990 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Beijing
1991 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Frankfurt
1992 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Barcelona
1993 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Moscow
1994 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Beijing
1995 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Gothenburg
1996 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Duisburg
1997 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Hamburg
1998 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Budapest
1999 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Tula
2000 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Moscow
2001 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Tula
2002 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Munich
2003 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Tula
2004 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Tula
2005 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Minsk
2006 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Minsk
2007 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Osaka
2008 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Minsk
2009 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Thessaloniki
2010 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Grodno
2011 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Daegu
2012 Template:T&Fcalc Template:Flagathlete Minsk

See also


External links

  • Commons-logo.svg Media related to Shot put at Wikimedia Commons

Template:Footer Olympic Champions Shot Put Women Template:Footer Olympic Champions Shot Put Men Template:Footer World Champions Shot Put Men

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