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Shot putter, University of Nebraska, 1942

The shot put is an athletics event involving "putting" (throwing in a pushing motion) a heavy metal ball (called the shot) as far as possible. It is common to use the term "shot put" to refer to both the shot itself and to the throwing motion.

Competitions and rules

Competitors take their throw from inside a circle in diameter, with a toe board approximately high at the front of the circle. The distance thrown is measured from the inside of the circumference of the circle to the nearest disturbance of the soil caused by the shot's impact.


  • Upon calling the athlete's name, he/she has 20 seconds to begin the throwing motion.
  • Athlete can enter the ring from any side.
  • The athlete must rest the shot close to the neck and keep it tight to the neck while throwing.
  • Athlete is allowed to touch the inside edge of the circle but must not touch the top or outside of the toeboard.
  • Shot put must land in a legal sector of the throwing area.
  • Athlete must exhibit a controlled exit using the rear half of the circle.

Foul throws occur when an athlete:

  • Does not exit from the rear half of the circle.
  • Touches (with either a body part or even a piece of material such as a shoelace), before the implement lands, any of
    • the top of the toe board
    • the top of the iron ring
    • anywhere outside the circle after having entered it.
  • Throws a shot which falls outside the throwing sector.
  • Allows the shot to drop below his shoulder or outside the vertical plane of his shoulder during the put.
  • Does not pause or demonstrate control after entering/exiting the circle.
  • Does not begin the throwing movement within 60 seconds of having his name called.


Each competition has a set number of rounds of throws. Typically there are 3 rounds of preliminaries to determine seats for the final. The competitor with the farthest legal put is declared the winner. In men's competition, the shot weighs 7.26 kilograms (16 pounds). The women's shot weighs . American high schools usually use shots for boys and 4 kg shots for girls; these are sometimes used as practice shots as well. The weight of the ball differs depending on the age group. Men over the age of 50 or under 19 use a 6 kg shot (13.2 pounds) in international competition.

Shot put competitions have been held at the Summer Olympic Games since their inception, and is also included as an event in athletic world championships. The shot put originates from Highland games 'stone put' where competitors put a rounded cube, stone, or metal form of considerable weight from behind a given line.

Putting styles

Two putting styles are in current general use by shot put competitors: the glide and the spin.

The origin of the glide dates to 1951, when Parry O'Brien of the United States invented a technique that involves the putter facing backwards, rotating 180 degrees across the circle, and then tossing the shot. With this technique, a right-hand thrower begins facing the rear of the circle and kicks to the front with the left leg while pushing off forcefully with theright. The key is to move quickly across the circle with as little air under the feet as possible, hence the name "glide".As the thrower crosses the circle, the hips twist toward the front, followed by the shoulders and strikes in a putting motionwith their arm.

In 1972 year Aleksandr Baryshnikov set his first USSR record by using a new putting style. Aleksandr Baryshnikov biography on (in russian) reference tested at 11 may 2009 In 1976 Aleksandr Baryshnikov set a world record with "spin" style and first time crossed 22 meters bound. That "spin" style ("круговой мах" in Russian) invented by his coach Viktor Alexeyev. Shot put history reference tested at 11 may 2009 Григорий РУДЕРМАН (Израиль), заслуженный тренер России «Метания в хх веке : тенденции развития.» reference tested at 11 may 2009

The spin was also invented in the United States in 1976 . From this, in 1976, Brian Oldfield popularized the spin technique which involves rotating like a discus thrower and using rotational momentum for power. Oldfield set the record of in 1975; it was unofficial, however, because he was a professional at a time when the IAAF had an amateur-only policy, but undisputed and over 3 feet better than the official world record at the time. Oldfield's record in the 33 years since has been bettered by only 10 1/4 inches. In the spin, a right-handed thrower faces the rear, and begins to spin on the ball of the left foot. The thrower comes around and faces the front of the circle and drives the right foot into the middle of the circle. Finally, the thrower reaches for the front of the circle with the left foot, twists his hips and shoulders like in the glide, and puts the shot.

With all putting styles, the goal is to release the shot with maximum forward velocity at an angle of approximately forty degrees. Currently, most top male shot putters use the spin, but the glide remains popular, especially at the amateur level and among women, since the technique breeds higher consistency for the athlete as opposed to the rotational technique. It is worth noting that the world record by a male putter (Randy Barnes was completed with the spin technique, while the close second-best all-time distance (Ulf Timmermann was completed with the glide technique. The U.S. high school record for the 12-point shot, by Michael Carter, was also completed with the glide technique. Measuring which technique can provide the most potential is difficult, as many of the best throws recorded with each technique come from athletes under a thick cloud of doping suspicion and violations. In some opinions the decision to glide or spin should be based on the thrower's size and power, with short throwers benefiting from the spin and taller throwers benefiting from the glide, but many throwers do not follow this guideline. Almost all throwers start by using the glide.

World records

The current world record holders are:

Type Athlete Distance Venue Date
Outdoor Randy Barnes Westwood, Californiamarker, USA May 20, 1990
Indoor Randy Barnes Los Angeles, Californiamarker, USA January 20, 1989
Outdoor Natalya Lisovskaya Moscow, USSR June 7, 1987
Indoor Helena Fibingerová Jablonec, CZE February 19, 1977

Area records

  • Updated 16 June, 2009
Area Men's Women's
Distance Athlete Nation Distance Athlete Nation
Africa 21.97 m Janus Robberts 18.35 m Vivian Chukwuemeka
Asia 21.13 m Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi 21.76 m Meisu Li
Europe 23.06 m Ulf Timmermann 22.63 m WR Natalya Lisovskaya
North and Central
America, and Caribbean
23.12 m WR Randy Barnes 20.96 m Belsy Laza
Oceania 21.26 m Scott Martin 21.07 m Valerie Vili
South America 21.13 m Marco Antonio Verni 19.30 m Elisângela Adriano

Note: Represents a time set at a high altitude.

Top 10 performers

  • Accurate as September 2, 2009


Mark Athlete Nationality Venue Date
23.12 Randy Barnes UCLAmarker May 20, 1990
23.06 Ulf Timmermann Khaniamarker May 22, 1988
22.91 Alessandro Andrei Viareggiomarker August 12, 1987
22.86 Brian Oldfield El Pasomarker May 10, 1975
22.75 Werner Günthör Bernmarker August 23, 1988
22.67 Kevin Toth Lawrencemarker April 19, 2003
22.64 Udo Beyer Berlinmarker August 20, 1986
22.54 Christian Cantwell Greshammarker June 5, 2004
22.52 John Brenner Walnutmarker April 26, 1987
22.51 Adam Nelson Greshammarker May 18, 2002


Mark Athlete Nationality Venue Date

22.63 Natalya Lisovskaya Moscowmarker June 7, 1987
22.45 Ilona Briesenick Potsdammarker May 11, 1980
22.32 Helena Fibingerová Nitramarker August 20, 1977
22.19 Claudia Losch Hainfeldmarker August 23, 1987
21.89 Ivanka Khristova Belmekenmarker July 4, 1976
21.86 Marianne Adam Leipzigmarker June 23, 1979
21.76 Li Meisu Shijiazhuangmarker April 23, 1988
21.73 Natalya Akhrimenko Leselidzemarker May 21, 1988
21.69 Vita Pavlysh Budapestmarker August 15, 1998
21.66 Sui Xinmei Beijing June 9, 1990

Best Year Performance

Men's Season's Best

1964 20.68 Los Angelesmarker
1965 21.52 College Stationmarker
1966 21.09 Los Angelesmarker
1967 21.78 College Stationmarker
1968 21.30 Walnutmarker
1969 20.64 EugenemarkerBudapestmarker
1970 21.75 Berkeleymarker
1971 21.12 Moscowmarker
1972 21.54 Potsdammarker
1973 21.82 San Josemarker
1974 21.70 Moscowmarker
1975 22.86 El Pasomarker
1976 22.45 El Pasomarker
1977 21.74 Düsseldorfmarker
1978 22.15 Gothenburgmarker
1979 21.74 Linzmarker
1980 21.98 Erfurtmarker
1981 22.02 Modestomarker
1982 22.02 Koblenzmarker
1983 22.22 Los Angelesmarker
1984 22.19 San Josemarker
1985 22.62 Berlinmarker
1986 22.64 Berlinmarker
1987 22.91 Viareggiomarker
1988 23.06 Haniamarker
1989 22.19 Berlinmarker
1990 23.12 Westwoodmarker
1991 22.03 Oslomarker
1992 21.98 Los Gatosmarker
1993 21.98 Linzmarker
1994 21.09 New York Citymarker
1995 22.00 Knoxvillemarker
1996 22.40 Rüdlingenmarker
1997 22.03 Indianapolismarker
1998 21.78 Walnutmarker
1999 22.02 Eugenemarker
2000 22.12 Sacramentomarker
2001 21.97 Eugenemarker
2002 22.51 Greshammarker
2003 22.67 Lawrencemarker
2004 22.54 Greshammarker
2005 22.20 Carsonmarker
2006 22.45 Gatesheadmarker
2007 22.43 Londonmarker
2008 22.12 Manhattanmarker
2009 22.16 Zagrebmarker

Women's Season's Best

1968 19.61 Mexico Citymarker
1969 20.43 Athensmarker
1970 19.69 Erfurtmarker
1971 20.43 Moscowmarker
1972 21.03 Munichmarker
1973 21.45 Varnamarker
1974 21.57 Gottwaldovmarker
1975 21.60 Berlinmarker
1976 21.99 Opavamarker
1977 22.32 Nitramarker
1978 22.06 Berlinmarker
1979 22.04 Potsdammarker
1980 22.45 Potsdammarker
1981 21.61 Potsdammarker
1982 21.80 Potsdammarker
1983 22.40 Berlinmarker
1984 22.53 Sochimarker
1985 21.73 Erfurtmarker
1986 21.70 Tallinnmarker
1987 22.63 Moscowmarker
1988 22.55 Tallinnmarker
1989 20.82 Praguemarker
1990 21.66 Beijing
1991 21.12 Frankfurtmarker
1992 21.06 Barcelonamarker
1993 20.84 Moscowmarker
1994 20.54 Beijing
1995 21.22 Gothenburgmarker
1996 20.97 Duisburgmarker
1997 21.22 Hamburgmarker
1998 21.69 Budapestmarker
1999 20.26 Tula
2000 21.46 Moscowmarker
2001 20.79 Tula
2002 20.64 Munichmarker
2003 20.77 Tula
2004 20.79 Tula
2005 21.09 Minskmarker
2006 20.56 Minskmarker
2007 20.54 Osaka
2008 20.98 Minskmarker

See also


  1. Records by event - Shot put. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-05-10.
  2. 60 Metres Records. IAAF (2009-04-04). Retrieved on 2009-04-04.

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