The discus throw ( pronunciation) is an event in track and field athletics competition, in which an athlete throws a heavy disc—called a discus—in an attempt to mark a farther distance than his or her competitors. It is an ancient sport, as evidenced by the 5th century BC Myron statue, Discobolus. Although not part of the modern pentathlon, it was one of the events of the ancient pentathlon, which can be dated at least back to 708 BC.
The discus throw is a routine part of most modern track and field meets at all levels and is a sport which is particularly iconic of the Olympic Games. The men's competition has been a part of the modern Summer Olympic Games since the first Olympiad in 1896. Images of discus throwers figured prominently in advertising for early modern Games, such as fundraising stamps for the 1896 games and the main posters for the 1920 and 1948 Summer Olympics.
The women's competition was added to the Olympic program in the 1928 games, although they had been competing at some national and regional levels previously.
The discus, the object to be thrown, is a heavy lenticular disc with a weight of 2 kilograms (4.4 lb) and diameter of 219–221 millimetres (8.6–8.7 in) for the men's event, and a weight of 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) and diameter of 180–182 millimetres (7.1–7.2 in) for the women's event.
Under IAAF (international) rules, Youth boys (16–17 years) throw the 1.5 kg discus, the Junior men (18–19 years) throw the unique 1.75 kg discus, and the girls/women of those ages throw the 1 kg discus.
In international competition, men throw the 2 kg discus through age 49. The 1.5 kg discus is thrown by ages 50–59, and men age 60 and beyond throw the 1 kg discus. Women throw the 1 kg discus through age 74. Starting with age 75, women throw the 750 gram discus.
The typical discus has sides made of plastic, wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber or metal with a metal rim and a metal core to attain the weight. The rim must be smooth, with no roughness or finger holds. A discus with more weight in the rim produces greater angular momentum for any given spin rate, and thus more stability, although it is more difficult to throw. However, a higher rim weight, if thrown correctly, can lead to a farther throw. A solid rubber discus is sometimes used (see In the United States).
To make a throw, the competitor starts in a circle of 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) diameter, which is recessed in a concrete pad by 20 mm. The thrower typically takes an initial stance facing away from the direction of the throw. He then spins counter-clockwise (for right-handers) around one and a half times through the circle to build momentum, then releases his throw. The discus must land within a 34.92-degree sector. The rules of competition for discus are virtually identical to those of shot put, except that the circle is larger, a stop board is not used and there are no form rules concerning how the discus is to be thrown.
The distance from the front edge of the circle to where the discus has landed is measured, and distances are rounded down to the nearest centimetre. The competitor's best throw from the allocated number of throws, typically three to six, is recorded, and the competitor who legally throws the discus the farthest is declared the winner. Ties are broken by determining which thrower has the longer second-best throw.
The basic motion is a forehanded sidearm movement. The discus is spun off the index finger or the middle finger of the throwing hand. In flight the disc spins clockwise when viewed from above for a right-handed thrower, and counter-clockwise for a lefty. As well as achieving maximum momentum in the discus on throwing, the discus' distance is also determined by the trajectory the thrower imparts, as well as the aerodynamic behavior of the discus. Generally, throws into a moderate headwind achieve the maximum distance. Also, a faster-spinning discus imparts greater gyroscopic stability. The technique of discus throwing is quite difficult to master and needs lots of experience to get right, thus most top throwers are 30 years old or more.
There are six keys movements of the discus throw: wind up, move in rhythm, balance, right leg engine, orbit, and delivery. The wind up is one of the most important aspects of the throw because it sets the tone for the entire throw. The wind up is both mental and technical. It is mental because the wind up sets the thrower up for the rest of the throw. The following are the technical aspects: flat right foot, on the ball of your left foot, keep your weight evenly distributed between your feet, and not being overly active, which results in the waste of energy. Although the wind up sets the tone for the entire throw, the rhythm of the throw is the most important aspect. It is necessary to move in rhythm throughout the entire throw. The best throwers contain the same amount of time in each phase while completing a great throw. Focusing on rhythm can bring about the consistency to get in the right positions that many throwers lack. Executing a sound discus throw with solid technique requires perfect balance. This is due to the throw being a linear movement combined with a one and a half rotation and an implement at the end of one arm. Thus, a good discus thrower needs to maintain balance within the circle. It is also important that the discus thrower keeps their shoulders at the same level during the throw until the end, where the thrower must extend their shoulders upward to get good lift under the discus. If extension is executed properly the discus will be at the right angle to ride on the air current and thus be taken a farther distance.
Top ten performers 
|74.08 m (243 ft 0.5 in)||Jürgen Schult (GDR)||Neubrandenburg||June 6, 1986|
|73.88 m (242 ft 4.7 in)||Virgilijus Alekna (LTU)||Kaunas||August 3, 2000|
|73.38 m (240 ft 9.0 in)||Gerd Kanter (EST)||Helsingborg||September 4, 2006|
|71.86 m (235 ft 9.1 in)||Yuriy Dumchev (URS)||Moscow||May 29, 1983|
|71.70 m (235 ft 2.8 in)||Róbert Fazekas (HUN)||Szombathely||July 14, 2002|
|71.50 m (234 ft 7.0 in)||Lars Riedel (GER)||Wiesbaden||May 3, 1997|
|71.32 m (233 ft 11.9 in)||Ben Plucknett (USA)||Eugene||June 4, 1983|
|71.26 m (233 ft 9.5 in)||John Powell (USA)||San Jose||June 9, 1984|
|71.26 m (233 ft 9.5 in)||Rickard Bruch (SWE)||Malmö||November 15, 1984|
|71.26 m (233 ft 9.5 in)||Imrich Bugár (TCH)||San Jose, CA||May 25, 1985|
|76.80 m (251 ft 11.6 in)||Gabriele Reinsch (GDR)||Neubrandenburg||July 9, 1988|
|74.56 m (244 ft 7.4 in)||Zdenka Šilhavá (TCH)||Nitra||August 26, 1984|
|74.56 m (244 ft 7.4 in)||Ilke Wyludda (GDR)||Neubrandenburg||July 23, 1989|
|74.08 m (243 ft 0.5 in)||Diana Sachse-Gansky (GDR)||Karl-Marx-Stadt||June 20, 1987|
|73.84 m (242 ft 3.1 in)||Daniela Costian (ROU)||Bucharest||April 30, 1988|
|73.36 m (240 ft 8.2 in)||Irina Meszynski (GDR)||Prague||August 17, 1984|
|73.28 m (240 ft 5.0 in)||Galina Savinkova (URS)||Donetsk||September 8, 1984|
|73.23 m (240 ft 3.1 in)||Tsvetanka Khristova (BUL)||Kazanlak||April 19, 1987|
|73.10 m (239 ft 10.0 in)||Gisela Beyer (GDR)||Berlin||July 20, 1984|
|72.92 m (239 ft 2.9 in)||Martina Hellmann (GDR)||Potsdam||August 20, 1987|
World record progress 
|46 m (150 ft 11.0 in)||Harrison Heath (Great Britain)||London||1900-03-12|
|47.58 m (156 ft 1.2 in)||James Duncan (USA)||New York||1912-05-27|
|47.61 m (156 ft 2.4 in)||Thomas Lieb (USA)||Chicago||1924-09-14|
|47.89 m (157 ft 1.4 in)||Glenn Hartranft (USA)||San Francisco||1925-05-02|
|48.20 m (158 ft 1.6 in)||Bud Houser (USA)||Palo Alto, California||1926-04-02|
|49.90 m (163 ft 8.6 in)||Eric Krenz (USA)||Palo Alto, California||1929-03-09|
|51.03 m (167 ft 5.1 in)||Eric Krenz (USA)||Palo Alto, California||1930-05-17|
|51.73 m (169 ft 8.6 in)||Paul Jessup (USA)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||1930-08-23|
|52.42 m (171 ft 11.8 in)||Harald Andersson (SWE)||Oslo||1934-08-25|
|53.10 m (174 ft 2.6 in)||Willi Schröder (GER)||Magdeburg, Germany||1935-04-28|
|53.26 m (174 ft 8.9 in)||Archibald Harris (USA)||Palo Alto, California||1941-06-20|
|53.34 m (175 ft 0.0 in)||Adolfo Consolini (ITA)||Milan||1941-10-26|
|54.23 m (177 ft 11.0 in)||Adolfo Consolini (ITA)||Milan||1946-04-14|
|54.93 m (180 ft 2.6 in)||Robert Fitch (USA)||Minneapolis, Minnesota||1946-06-08|
|55.33 m (181 ft 6.3 in)||Adolfo Consolini (ITA)||Milan||1948-10-10|
|56.46 m (185 ft 2.8 in)||Fortune Gordien (USA)||Lisbon||1949-07-09|
|56.97 m (186 ft 10.9 in)||Fortune Gordien (USA)||Hämeenlinna, Finland||1949-08-14|
|57.93 m (190 ft 0.7 in)||Sim Iness (USA)||Lincoln, Nebraska||1953-06-20|
|58.10 m (190 ft 7.4 in)||Fortune Gordien (USA)||Pasadena, California||1953-07-11|
|59.28 m (194 ft 5.9 in)||Fortune Gordien (USA)||Pasadena, California||1953-08-22|
|59.91 m (196 ft 6.7 in)||Edmund Piątkowski (POL)||Warsaw||1959-06-14|
|59.91 m (196 ft 6.7 in)||Rink Babka (USA)||Walnut, California||1960-08-12|
|60.56 m (198 ft 8.3 in)||Jay Silvester (USA)||Frankfurt||1961-08-11|
|60.72 m (199 ft 2.6 in)||Jay Silvester (USA)||Brussels||1961-08-20|
|61.10 m (200 ft 5.5 in)||Al Oerter (USA)||Los Angeles||1962-05-18|
|61.64 m (202 ft 2.8 in)||Vladimir Trusenyev (URS)||Leningrad, USSR||1962-06-04|
|62.45 m (204 ft 10.7 in)||Al Oerter (USA)||Chicago||1962-07-01|
|62.62 m (205 ft 5.4 in)||Al Oerter (USA)||Walnut, California||1963-04-27|
|62.94 m (206 ft 6.0 in)||Al Oerter (USA)||Walnut, California||1964-04-25|
|64.55 m (211 ft 9.3 in)||Ludvík Daněk (TCH)||Turnov, Czechoslovakia||1964-08-02|
|65.22 m (213 ft 11.7 in)||Ludvík Daněk (TCH)||Sokolov, Czechoslovakia||1965-10-12|
|66.54 m (218 ft 3.7 in)||Jay Silvester (USA)||Modesto, California||1968-05-25|
|68.40 m (224 ft 4.9 in)||Jay Silvester (USA)||Reno, Nevada||1968-09-18|
|68.40 m (224 ft 4.9 in)||Ricky Bruch (SWE)||Stockholm||1972-07-05|
|68.48 m (224 ft 8.1 in)||John van Reenen (RSA)||Stellenbosch, South Africa||1975-03-14|
|69.08 m (226 ft 7.7 in)||John Powell (USA)||Long Beach, California||1975-05-03|
|69.18 m (226 ft 11.6 in)||Mac Wilkins (USA)||Walnut, California||1976-04-24|
|69.80 m (229 ft 0.0 in)||Mac Wilkins (USA)||San Jose, California||1976-05-01|
|70.24 m (230 ft 5.4 in)||Mac Wilkins (USA)||San Jose, California||1976-05-01|
|70.86 m (232 ft 5.8 in)||Mac Wilkins (USA)||San Jose, California||1976-05-01|
|71.16 m (233 ft 5.6 in)||Wolfgang Schmidt (GDR)||Berlin||1978-08-09|
|71.86 m (235 ft 9.1 in)||Yuriy Dumchev (URS)||Moscow||1983-05-29|
|74.08 m (243 ft 0.5 in)||Jürgen Schult (GDR)||Neubrandenburg, GDR||1986-06-06|
|24.90 m (81 ft 8.3 in)||Lilli Henoch (GER)||Berlin||1922-10-01|
|26.90 m (88 ft 3.1 in)||Lilli Henoch (GER)||Berlin||1923-07-08|
|27.70 m (90 ft 10.6 in)||Lucie Petit (FRA)||Paris||1924-07-14|
|28.325 m (92 ft 11.2 in)||Lucie Petit (FRA)||Brussels||1924-07-21|
|30.225 m (99 ft 2.0 in)||Lucienne Velu (FRA)||Paris||1924-09-14|
|31.15 m (102 ft 2.4 in)||Maria Vidlaková (TCH)||Prague||1925-10-11|
|34.15 m (112 ft 0.5 in)||Halina Konopacka (POL)||Warsaw||1926-05-23|
|38.34 m (125 ft 9.4 in)||Milly Reuter (GER)||Braunschweig||1926-08-22|
|39.18 m (128 ft 6.5 in)||Halina Konopacka (POL)||Warsaw||1927-09-04|
|39.62 m (129 ft 11.8 in)||Halina Konopacka (POL)||Amsterdam||1928-07-31|
|40.345 m (132 ft 4.4 in)||Jadwiga Wajs (POL)||Pabianice||1932-05-15|
|40.84 m (133 ft 11.9 in)||Grete Heublein (GER)||Hagen||1932-06-19|
|42.43 m (139 ft 2.5 in)||Jadwiga Wajs (POL)||Lodz||1932-06-19|
|43.08 m (141 ft 4.1 in)||Jadwiga Wajs (POL)||Królewska Huta||1933-07-15|
|43.795 m (143 ft 8.2 in)||Jadwiga Wajs (POL)||London||1934-08-11|
|44.34 m (145 ft 5.7 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Ulm||1935-06-02|
|44.51 m (146 ft 0.4 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Nuremberg||1935-06-04|
|44.76 m (146 ft 10.2 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Nuremberg||1935-06-04|
|44.77 m (146 ft 10.6 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Munich||1935-06-23|
|45.53 m (149 ft 4.5 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Munich||1935-06-23|
|45.97 m (150 ft 9.8 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Jena||1935-06-29|
|46.10 m (151 ft 3.0 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Jena||1935-06-29|
|47.12 m (154 ft 7.1 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Dresden||1935-08-25|
|47.99 m (157 ft 5.4 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Munich||1936-06-14|
|48.31 m (158 ft 6.0 in)||Gisela Mauermayer (GER)||Dresden||1936-07-11|
|53.25 m (174 ft 8.5 in)||Nina Dumbadze (URS)||Moscow||1948-08-08|
|53.37 m (175 ft 1.2 in)||Nina Dumbadze (URS)||Gori||1951-05-27|
|53.61 m (175 ft 10.6 in)||Nina Romashkova (URS)||Odessa||1952-08-09|
|57.04 m (187 ft 1.7 in)||Nina Dumbadze (URS)||Tbilisi||1952-10-18|
|57.15 m (187 ft 6.0 in)||Tamara Press (URS)||Rome||1960-09-12|
|57.43 m (188 ft 5.0 in)||Tamara Press (URS)||Moscow||1961-07-15|
|58.06 m (190 ft 5.8 in)||Tamara Press (URS)||Sofia||1961-09-01|
|58.98 m (193 ft 6.0 in)||Tamara Press (URS)||London||1961-09-20|
|59.29 m (194 ft 6.3 in)||Tamara Press (URS)||Moscow||1963-05-19|
|59.70 m (195 ft 10.4 in)||Tamara Press (URS)||Moscow||1965-08-11|
|61.26 m (200 ft 11.8 in)||Liesel Westermann (FRG)||São Paulo||1967-11-05|
|61.64 m (202 ft 2.8 in)||Christine Spielberg (GDR)||Regis-Breitingen||1968-05-26|
|62.54 m (205 ft 2.2 in)||Liesel Westermann (FRG)||Werdohl||1968-08-24|
|62.70 m (205 ft 8.5 in)||Liesel Westermann (FRG)||Berlin||1969-06-18|
|63.96 m (209 ft 10.1 in)||Liesel Westermann (FRG)||Hamburg||1969-09-27|
|64.22 m (210 ft 8.3 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Helsinki||1971-08-12|
|64.88 m (212 ft 10.3 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Munich||1971-09-04|
|65.42 m (214 ft 7.6 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Moscow||1972-05-31|
|65.48 m (214 ft 10.0 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Augsburg||1972-06-24|
|66.76 m (219 ft 0.3 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Moscow||1972-08-04|
|67.32 m (220 ft 10.4 in)||Argentina Menis (ROU)||Bucharest||1972-09-23|
|67.44 m (221 ft 3.1 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Riga||1973-05-25|
|67.58 m (221 ft 8.6 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Moscow||1973-07-11|
|69.48 m (227 ft 11.4 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Edinburgh||1973-09-07|
|69.90 m (229 ft 4.0 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Prague||1974-05-27|
|70.20 m (230 ft 3.8 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Zurich||1975-08-20|
|70.50 m (231 ft 3.6 in)||Faina Melnyk (URS)||Sochi||1976-04-24|
|70.72 m (232 ft 0.3 in)||Evelin Jahl (GDR)||Dresden||1978-08-12|
|71.50 m (234 ft 7.0 in)||Evelin Jahl (GDR)||Potsdam||1980-05-10|
|71.80 m (235 ft 6.8 in)||Mariya Petkova (BUL)||Sofia||1980-07-15|
|73.26 m (240 ft 4.3 in)||Galina Savinkova (URS)||Leselidze||1983-05-23|
|73.36 m (240 ft 8.2 in)||Irina Meszynski (GDR)||Prague||1984-08-17|
|74.56 m (244 ft 7.4 in)||Zdenka Šilhavá (CSK)||Nitra||1984-08-26|
|76.80 m (251 ft 11.6 in)||Gabriele Reinsch (GDR)||Neubrandenburg||1988-07-09|
Indoor world record progress 
|66.20 m||Wolfgang Schmidt||Germany||9 January 1980||Berlin, Germany|||
|69.51 m||Gerd Kanter||Estonia||22 March 2009||World Record Indoor Challenge||Växjö, Sweden|||
Discus throwers have been selected as a main motif in numerous collectors' coins. One of the recent samples is the €10 Greek Discus commemorative coin, minted in 2003 to commemorate the 2004 Summer Olympics. On the obverse of the coin a modern athlete is seen in the foreground in a half-turned position, while in the background an ancient discus thrower has been captured in a lively bending motion, with the discus high above his head, creating a vivid representation of the sport.
United States 
In U.S. high school track and field, boys typically throw a discus weighing 1.6 kg (3 lb 9 oz) and the girls throw the 1 kg (2.2 lb) women's discus. Under USATF Youth rules, boys throw the 1 kg discus between the ages of 11-14, and transition to the 1.6 kg discus as 15-18 year olds. Girls throw the 1 kg discus as 11-18 year olds.
Under US high school rules, if a discus hits the surrounding safety cage and is deflected into the sector, it is ruled a foul. In contrast, under IAAF, WMA, NCAA and USATF rules, it is ruled a legal throw. Additionally, under US high school rules, distances thrown are rounded down to the nearest whole inch, rather than the nearest centimetre.
US high school rules allow the use of a solid rubber discus; it is cheaper and easier to learn to throw (due to its more equal distribution of weight, as opposed to the heavy rim weight of the metal rim/core discus), but less durable.
See also 
- National champions discus throw (men)
- National champions discus throw (women)
- Notations on the 1920 discus stamps at the Olympic Museum
- IAAF All-time top Discus throws - Men. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- IAAF All-time top Discus throws - Women. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- "Live from Växjö!". www.team75plus.com. 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Kanter throws 69.51m world indoor best in Växjö". IAAF. 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2010-03-28.