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In Fränkisch-Crumbach Sultana is, and always will be, the fan favorite.

Meet Recap: Fränkisch-Crumbach and Basel

In Fränkisch-Crumbach Sultana is, and always will be, the fan favorite.It’s been a busy weekend. Over the past 48 hours I have competed twice and racked up nearly 600 miles on our rental car. I’ve competed at one of the best speciality meets in the world, won the hammer throw and a watch at the only Swiss Meeting that includes it, caught up with many friends, and returned home with enough time to do laundry before I have to return to work tomorrow. It was exhausting, but it was fun.

The first big event of the weekend was the Fränkisch-Crumbach international hammer meet in Germany. This is my fifth year at the event, which packs thousands of fans into the town park to gossip, grab a beer, and, of course, watch hammer throwing. I’ve written about how great the meet is every year, so there is little to add this year. Once again the meet management and fans did not let me down and I tied for my my highest ever finish at the meet.

She may be trying to smile, but we all know Heidler wasn't satisfied with a bronze in London and will be looking for more this year. Photo by Getty Images.

10 Reasons to Watch the Hammer in 2013

Betty HeidlerAre you ready for the hammer season? Ready or not, elite throwers around the world are getting ready to enter the ring if they haven’t done so already. On Saturday, the first major US meet of the season will take place at the Mt. SAC Relays with throwers like Kibwé Johnson, Libor Charfreitag, Drew Loftin, Mark Dry, Sultana Frizell, Jessica Cosby, Sophie Hitchon, Sarah Holt, Britney Henry, and several other elites. The IAAF Hammer Challenge kicks off in a few weeks in Tokyo. I’ve had six months to speculate, talk about, and analyze the upcoming season. So without further ado here are the 10 reasons why I think everyone should watch the hammer this year.

1 – 80 meters still has to be right around the corner. It was first on my list last year and remains first on my list this year. I want to see the women’s world record broken with the first throw over 80 meters. A half dozen women are within striking distance and just one of them needs to get there. Betty Heidler has to be the favorite to reach the mark first. Not only is she the current world record holder at 79.42 meters, but her recent inconsistency plays to her advantage in this regard. Throwers like Lysenko have been so consistent that I would be more surprised by a big personal best. But with Heidler anything is possible and a big throw of 80 meters is definitely one of them.

Heidler had a few words for the officials after the competition.

Looking Back on 2012: Top Hammer Throwing Stories

In an Olympic year, naturally many of the highlights came from London. But there were many more great stories throughout the season. Here is a selection of the top hammer throwing stories from the 2012 season, both good and bad.

1. London gives us the deepest women’s competition ever

As I noted in my Olympic recap, three women broke 77 meters for the first time ever at the same competition, four women (and eight throws) were at or over the Olympic record, five women broke 76 meters, and it took 74 meters just to place in the top eight and get to take the final three throws. According to the indispensable stats website Tilastopaja, the London Olympics featured the best marks ever for second through eleventh place. In other words, never has someone ever thrown so far yet placed so low. Before London a throw of 75 meters had never been left off the podium at any level. In London, two throwers with marks of 76 meters were left off the podium. The only thing that was missing was a world record, and even that was not that far off. With so many women currently at such a high level the 80 meter barrier must finally be close to falling after more than a decade of anticipation.

Wenlock, the Olympic mascot, grew on me throughout the Olympics.

Reflections on the London Olympic Games

Last evening the Olympics officially came to a close, but not after ten days of exciting athletics action. From David Rudisha’s solo 800m world record to 19-year old Keshorn Walcott surprise victory in the men’s javelin, the week was full of amazing feats, surprises, as well as some disappointments. The hammer throw was no exception. Here are five thoughts I have on the hammer throw in London after watching the greatest show on earth.

The London Olympic Stadium is just one of the Diamond League venues capable of hosting the hammer throw.

London Olympic Preview: Women’s Hammer Throw

Get ready for the best women’s hammer throw competition of all time. On Wednesday, the top seven throwers of all time will step foot in the hammer ring at the London Olympic Stadium. This includes three throwers over 78 meters, eight throwers over 76.50 meters, and 11 over 75 meters! Not only will the throws likely be far, but the competition should be close as the front runners closely packed together through the season. Even the experts cannot agree on a favorite. Below you will find an overview of the competition format, profiles of the top athletes, start lists, 2012 performance lists, and predictions.

The group at dinner.

Portugal Training Camp: Wrap-up

As my training camp came to a close yesterday, I couldn’t have been happier with the progress I made over 10 days and 16 training sessions. My season plan may have been interrupted by setbacks in May, but now I am in the best shape of my life. In addition to the personal best with the 9-kilogram hammer on Monday I had personal training bests with the competition weight 7.26-kilogram hammer on both Friday and Saturday. First I launched 67.30 meters (video below) and then came back the next day to toss 67.70 meters. I had only thrown over 67 meters twice in training before, but this week I had nearly a dozen throws at or over that distance and am capable of more.

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Watching Fraenkisch-Crumbach From the Stands

For the fourth year in a row I ventured north for the memorable Fränksich-Crumbach Hammermeeting in small-town Germany. I’ve been explicit in stating that this is my favorite hammer meet around. Attendance looked a little higher at this year’s tenth edition of the meet, but the results were a little down and so was the excitement. I think everyone was expecting a world record and some mere international calibre results left them wanting; Betty Heidler defeated perhaps the best women’s field the meet has ever had, and Markus Esser convincingly won the men’s title. There is still just something unique about the meet. Nearly every one of the fans embraces the event in a way that makes the athletes feel like we have been adopted by a family. To take an example, I stepped into one of the local hotels to look for Sultana. I had never been there before, but as soon as I walked in the proprietor said: “You must be Mr. Bingisser.” He then explained to his wife that I had written a great article about Fränkisch-Crumbach on the internet.

The highlight of 2012 will no doubt be the Olympic Games in London.

10 Reasons to Watch the Hammer in 2012

The international season starts up this weekend with the first leg of the IAAF Hammer Challenge in Kawasaki, Japan. Until the hammer throw is added to the Diamond League, the hammer challenge will remain the top circuit of throwing meets. And with so few competitive opportunities many of the best are jumping right in. The field in Kawasaki will feature five 80-meter throwers (see the full start list here).

By the end of the year, my wish list from last season was mostly fulfilled. On the eve of the 2012 season I’ve thought of the top 10 things I’m looking forward to this year. Feel free to share yours in the comments section below.


1 – A woman over 80 meters. This was high on my list last year and Betty Heidler came within two feet of the barrier in the earlier season. There were rumors that she threw over it in training during the summer, but it never materialized at a meet. A few women may be capable of hitting the mark (even my old training buddy Sultana Frizell threw her name in the mix with a 75 meter bomb in March), but Heidler has to be the frontrunner now. Not only has she thrown the furthest, but she is also motivated to improve even more after she only claimed silver at last year’s world championships…

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Meet Recap: European Cup Winter Throwing 2012

This weekend I participated in the European Cup Winter Throwing for the third straight year The idea of the meet is to provide a winter championship for events, such as the hammer throw, that cannot compete indoors. Since we throw outside a warmer location is ideal, yet this is the first time in three years that this goal was actually accomplished.

This year’s edition of the meet was held in Bar, Montenegro, a small Adriatic port town in Montenegro. With picturesque mountains, a ring just 100 meters from the sea, and warm weather, the conditions were perfect. After a strong opening meet last weekend I was hoping to throw 65 or 66 meters this weekend especially after being motivated by Sultana‘s massive Canadian record yesterday of 75.04 meters. Alas it was not to be.

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Arizona Training Camp 2012

As I left work last week several coworkers asked me where I would be headed during my time off. I explained that I would first be attending a friend’s wedding and then off to a training camp in Scottsdale. The response was along the lines of: “You mean you’ll be working out the whole time? Doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me.” I get a similar response whenever I head out on a vacation, as if it is impossible to enjoy yourself in a warm location if you have to train. Rather than thinking of it as work, I couldn’t think of a much better vacation than the one I am having right now. The two people sitting next to me on the plane ride down both were headed to Arizona to play golf. So why do people think that I also wouldn’t enjoy playing my favorite sport non-stop for a week?

In addition to focusing my energy 100% on the sport I love, there are many other reasons training camps are so fun. For starters, I get to work with my coach again and hear his stories at every training session. But what makes it really fun is that I get to visit my best friends/former training partners. Practice is a non-stop fun with them, and each evening is spent swapping stories and jokes over good food and a few beers. Sometimes I wonder if I can carry on a whole conversation without a reference to track and field, so it is nice to have the company of people like Kibwe Johnson, Loree Smith, and Sultana Frizell down here.