John J. Flanagan

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2018 by John Wood
John J. Flanagan, looking lean and mean in this rare shot from 1899, was one of the world’s greatest heavy event athletes. Flanagan, who immigrated to the U.S from Ireland in 1897, competed in three Olympic games: Paris (1900), St. Louis (1904), and London (1908). He won four Olympic medals, in the throwing events: three Golds in the Hammer (setting the Olympic record of 51.01 m) and one Silver medal in the 56-pound weight throw. Flanagan also competed in the discus in Paris in 1900 (finishing seventh) and in the Tug-O-War in the 1908 Olympics.

The Hammer throw continues to be an ongoing event in the Olympic Track and Field competition but the 56-pound weight was only contested twice: the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri and the 1920 Games held in Antwerp, Belgium. The 56-pound weight is, however, still contested in the Highland Games where it is thrown for distance and height.

Flanagan raised the world record in the 16 lbs. hammer throw in sixteen installments during his competitive career which lasted from 1895 to 1909. On July 24, 1909, at the age of 41, Flanagan set his last world record in the hammer with a throw of 56.18 meters.

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Strength From The Highlands: Scottish Hammer Throwing

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 by John Wood
The Scottish Hammer is an event in traditional Highland Games Heavy Athletics. The ‘Hammer’ itself is a length of rattan or wood with a weighted spherical head. There are actually two different types of Scottish Hammer records kept: heavy and light. For Men, the heavy hammer weighs 22 pounds and the light hammer weighs in at 16 pounds.) For Women, the heavy hammer is 16 pounds and the light hammer is 12 pounds.

The Hammer is wound around the body and thrown from a standing position. An interesting modern development is that athletes now wear boots with long spikes in them to anchor themselves to the ground which allows them to generate more rotational force.

The current World records are as follows:

Men’s Heavy Hammer: Daniel McKim: 132′ 2.75″
Men’s Light Hammer: Daniel McKim: 157′ 7.25″

Women’s Heavy Hammer: Valerie Adams: 99′ 1″
Women’s Light Hammer: Shannon Hartnett: 120′ 1″