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New York Times Features the Hammer Throw

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.

Click here to read the full article.

Comments

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  1. Hammerpop June 30, 2011

    My father, the late Carl G. Lauro, was coached by Fred Tootell, the first native bron American to win the Gold Medal in the hammer throw in the 1924 Olympics. My dad was a shot and discus thrower for the University of RI and would often recall Fred as being a great coach and humanitarian which i am proud to say was a legacy my dad had has an educator and long time Track & Field coach at Central High School n RI.

    Both my father and the late Al Morro, former Boston college national champion discus thrower (who was my former coach at Classical High school in Providence, Ri) were throws coaches before the concept ever existed.

    From 1944-1968 they produced some of the best throwers ever to emerge in HS track & Filed. It was their efforts and vision that made RI the only State in the US to offer the hammer throw in HS competition. In 1972, my Junior year at Classical, I was privileged to be part of an elite hammer team that included 4 of the top USA hammer throwers; Alvin Jackson, Phil Bartlett, Nick Bruno, and myself the sole Junior. We were throwing 200′ in those days which was unheard of and I believe our Team Relay distance still stands today as a State record.

    So hammer is part of my soul too and I am proud to say, my son Max Lauro, a junior All American hammer thrower at LSU is carrying on the tradition quite nicely. We have the highest respect for the hammer community in the USA and look forward to our country’s Olympic prospects in the hammer as being very real indeed.

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