The hammer throw was the lead item in the New York Times sports section on 22 June 2011. Author Isolde Raftery looks in depth at the culture of the event and how many philosophically minded individuals are drawn to it. As described by Raftery:
Decades ago, in the glory days of track and field, the hammer was more popular in the United States, with more than 20 states fielding high school teams in the discipline. Now only Rhode Island carries the hammer as a high school sport. The last American to win Olympic gold in the event was in 1956.
In Eastern Europe, which has dominated the hammer since the 1960s, promising throwers are identified in elementary school, sent to training schools and later supported financially. Not so in the United States, where many young hammer throwers learn by reading coaching manuals and eke out a living while squeezing in practices.
Rather than being bitter, American hammer throwers seem introspective. They wax poetic about physics, rhythm and kamiwaza — the Japanese word for divine work or superhuman feat.
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