Like most hammer throwers, I was shocked to learn yesterday that former world record holder and Olympic champion Sergey Litvinov unexpectedly passed away. I only had the chance to meet him once, but he had one of the biggest impacts on my development as a thrower and coach; right up there with my two main mentors Harold Connolly and Anatoliy Bondarchuk. Read more
Biomechanists can break down how the hammer is accelerated, but one thing they can’t do is determine what is going on in an athlete’s mind to perform the actions they see. What does the athlete think about? How do they try an initiate the movement? This is an area that intrigues me and I’ve been chatting with elite hammer throwers recently to find out their approach. There is no one right answer here, but hearing different viewpoints gives you more tools you can use as a coach. Read more
Typically distance runners have trained via two methods: either putting in the miles or running fast intervals. But, back in the 1930s, Swedish coach Gösta Holmér developed a new method called fartlek training that combined the two. The fartlek – Swedish for speed play – simply combined periods of fast running mixed with periods of slower running. It proved to be a quick success. Read more
Lately I have been having some good discussions on Facebook about hammer throw technique and hope to have some further articles about the topic this season. In the meantime Martin sent me a video of his throw last month to learn more about how the theory of technical applies to an actual throw. Below are a few comments. Read more
Everyone wants to know how to accelerate the hammer. But before you can answer that question you have to look at another question first: Does the body force the hammer to move? Or does the hammer force the body to move? You might say “This is easy! We push and control the hammer. We force the hammer to move.” Is it that easy? I would say this statement is both true and false. Read more
As is the case every year, 2016 was filled with highs and lows in the world of hammer throwing. World records were set, and former record setters athletes were banned. New athletes arrived, and old athletes retired. The Olympic men’s hammer final lacked some luster, but overall the year more than lived up to my expectations. Below is my list of top hammer throwing stories from the past year. Read more
Earlier this week we celebrated the 30th birthday of the men’s hammer throw world record. When a record lasts that long, the inevitable question is whether it will ever be broken. The chances do not look good in the near-term future. Pawel Fajdek’s throw of 83.93 meters last year is the only all-time top 10 mark in the last decade and the winning distance at this year’s Olympics was the lowest since 1984. In the long-term many top coaches think a bigger throw is possible, but it will not be easy. It will require the sport to progress in terms of training methods, culture, and more. Below two Olympic champions share their thought on the future of our event. Read more
Tomorrow the World Anti-Doping Agency will release the McLaren Report, which will provide a detailed look at allegations that arose in May regarding systemic cheating by Russia to win medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. While the main focus is on winter sports, it is expected that the report will take a broader look at Russian doping practices across many sports. These allegations will no doubt be used by the IAAF in defending its decision to ban Russia track and field team from the 2016 Olympics. Russia no doubt is doing things wrong, but don’t let us be distracted from the fact that the IAAF is equally culpable. The IAAF needs to implement major changes if track and field has any chance of being cleaned up. Read more
Earlier this morning Sergej Litvinov was informed by the IAAF that his application for exceptional eligibility to compete at the 2016 Olympics was declined along with 66 other athletes. (The rejection did not address all of the grounds for exception raised in Litvinov’s 13-page application, and we are in further communication with them to clarify these points.) In reading through the decision, some initial social media reactions, and media reports it is clear that the big picture is being overlooked. With that in mind, I’ve put together a primer on the topic that helps put the Russia doping issue in context. Read more
Editor’s Note: Last week the IAAF announced that the Russian athletics team will not be eligible to compete in the upcoming Olympic Games due systemic doping issues. Sergej Litvinov is the Russian champion in the hammer throw and placed 5th at last year’s World Championships. This week he wrote the following letter to Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF, asking what he can personally do to compete again.
Dear Lord Coe,
When it was announced that the Russian team will be banned from the upcoming Olympics last week, the common reaction here in Russia was denial mixed with anger. Many top athletes and officials continue to deny the scope of the problem and are angry that Russia is being singled out while similar issues exist in many places across the world.
I am not in denial. Read more