Statue of discus thrower in Botanic Garden, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Discus is an athletic throwing event in track and field competition. The discus, the object to be thrown, is a heavy lenticular disc with a diameter of 220 mm (8.66 inches) and a weight of two kilograms (4 lb 7 oz) for the men's event, and one kg (2 lb 3 oz) for the women's, with a smaller diameter of 181 mm (7.17 inches). In U.S. high school track and field, boys typically throw a discus weighing 1.616 kg (3 lb 9 oz) and the girls throw the 1 kg (2.2 lb) women's disc. The discus can be thrown starting at age 11 (midget division). Most children throw the 1 kg discus. The discus usually has sides made of rubber, plastic, wood, or metal with a metal rim and a metal core to attain the weight. 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. A practice discus made of solid rubber is often used in High School; it is cheaper, more durable, 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).

Discus throwing is an ancient sport. In the 5th century BC the sculptor Myron made a statue of a discus thrower (Discobolus), which is world-famous today. To make a throw, the competitor starts in a slightly recessed concrete-surfaced circle of 2.5 meters (8 feet 2½ inches) diameter. The thrower typically takes an initial stance facing away from the direction of the throw. He then spins around one and a half times through the circle to build momentum, then releases his throw. The discus must land within a 40-degree or 60-degree arc marked by lines on the landing zone, and the competitor must not exit the circle until the discus has landed, then must wait for the judge to give clearance to exit the ring from the rear half. 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 centimeter or half-inch. 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, spinning clockwise when viewed above for a right-handed thrower, and vice-versa. As well as achieving maximum momentum in the discus on throwing, the discus's distance is also determined by the trajectory the thrower imparts, as well as the aerodynamic behaviour of the discus. Generally, one wishes to throw into a moderate headwind to achieve maximum throws. 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 thirty years old or older.

A common technique employed by younger people is to not spin at all, but to jump forward a step to gather momentum. Although it doesn't provide as much power, it is easier to do.

Interestingly, the discus is the only track and field event in which a men's world record has never been set during the Olympic Games.

Top Ten Performers

Accurate as of February 1, 2008.[1] All distances are in meters


74.08  Jürgen Schult (GDR) Neubrandenburg June 6, 1986
73.88  Virgilijus Alekna (LTU) Kaunas August 3, 2000
73.38  Gerd Kanter (EST) Helsingborg September 4, 2006
71.86  Yuriy Dumchev (URS) Moscow May 29, 1983
71.70  Róbert Fazekas (HUN) Szombathely July 14, 2002
71.50  Lars Riedel (GER) Wiesbaden May 3, 1997
71.32  Ben Plucknett (USA) Eugene June 4, 1983
71.26  John Powell (USA) San Jose June 9, 1984
71.26  Rickard Bruch (SWE) Malmö November 15, 1984
71.26  Imrich Bugár (TCH) San Jose May 25, 1985


76.80  Gabriele Reinsch (GDR) Neubrandenburg July 9, 1988
74.56  Zdenka Šilhavá (TCH) Nitra August 26, 1984
74.56  Ilke Wyludda (GDR) Neubrandenburg July 23, 1989
74.08  Diana Sachse-Gansky (GDR) Karl-Marx-Stadt June 20, 1987
73.84  Daniela Costian (ROM) Bucharest April 30, 1988
73.36  Irina Meszynski (GDR) Prague August 17, 1984
73.28  Galina Savinkova (URS) Donetsk September 8, 1984
73.23  Tsvetanka Khristova (BUL) Kazanlak April 19, 1987
73.10  Gisela Beyer (GDR) Berlin July 20, 1984
72.92  Martina Hellmann (GDR) Potsdam August 20, 1987

World Record Progress


47.58  James Duncan (USA) New York 1912-05-27
47.61  Thomas Lieb (USA) Chicago 1924-09-14
47.89  Glenn Hartranft (USA) San Francisco 1925-05-02
48.20  Bud Houser (USA) Palo Alto 1926-04-02
49.90  Eric Krenz (USA) Palo Alto 1929-03-09
51.03  Eric Krenz (USA) Palo Alto 1930-05-17
51.73  Paul Jessup (USA) Pittsburgh 1930-08-23
52.42  Harald Andersson (SWE) Oslo 1934-08-25
53.10  Willi Schröder (GER) Magdeburg 1935-04-28
53.26  Archibald Harris (USA) Palo Alto 1941-06-20
53.34  Adolfo Consolini (ITA) Milano 1941-10-26
54.23  Adolfo Consolini (ITA) Milano 1946-04-14
54.93  Robert Fitch (USA) Minneapolis 1946-06-08
55.33  Adolfo Consolini (ITA) Milano 1948-10-10
56.46  Fortune Gordien (USA) Lisbon 1949-07-09
56.97  Fortune Gordien (USA) Hameenlinna 1949-08-14
57.93  Sim Iness (USA) Lincoln 1953-06-20
58.10  Fortune Gordien (USA) Pasadena 1953-07-11
59.28  Fortune Gordien (USA) Pasadena 1953-08-22
59.91  Edmund Piątkowski (POL) Warsaw 1959-06-14
59.91  Rink Babka (USA) Walnut 1960-08-12
60.56  Jay Silvester (USA) Frankfurt 1961-08-11
60.72  Jay Silvester (USA) Bruxelles 1961-08-20
61.10  Al Oerter (USA) Los Angeles 1962-05-18
61.64  Vladimir Trusenyev (URS) Leningrad 1962-06-04
62.45  Al Oerter (USA) Chicago 1962-07-01
62.62  Al Oerter (USA) Walnut 1963-04-27
62.94  Al Oerter (USA) Walnut 1964-04-25
64.55  Ludvík Daněk (TCH) Turnov 1964-08-02
65.22  Ludvík Daněk (TCH) Sokolov 1965-10-12
66.54  Jay Silvester (USA) Modesto 1968-05-25
68.40  Jay Silvester (USA) Reno 1968-09-18
68.40  Ricky Bruch (SWE) Stockholm 1972-07-05
68.48  John van Reenen (RSA) Stellenbosch 1975-03-14
69.08  John Powell (USA) Long Beach 1975-05-03
69.18  Dan Gergen (USA) Walnut 1976-04-24
69.80  Luke Moldenhauer (USA) San Jose 1976-05-01
70.24  Mac Wilkins (USA) San Jose 1976-05-01
70.86  Mac Wilkins (USA) San Jose 1976-05-01
71.16  Wolfgang Schmidt (GDR) Berlin 1978-08-09
71.86  Yuriy Dumchev (URS) Moscow 1983-05-29
74.08  Jürgen Schult (GDR) Neubrandenburg 1986-06-06


27.39  Yvonne Tembouret (FRA) Paris 1923-09-23
27.70  Lucie Petit (FRA) Paris 1924-07-14
28.325  Lucie Petit (FRA) Brussels 1924-07-21
30.225  Lucienne Velu (FRA) Paris 1924-09-14
31.15  Maria Vidlaková (TCH) Prague 1925-10-11
34.15  Halina Konopacka (POL) Warsaw 1926-05-23
38.34  Milly Reuter (GER) Braunschweig 1926-08-22
39.18  Halina Konopacka (POL) Warsaw 1927-09-04
39.62  Halina Konopacka (POL) Amsterdam 1928-07-31
40.345  Jadwiga Wajs (POL) Pabianice 1932-05-15
40.39  Jadwiga Wajs (POL) Lodz 1932-05-16
40.84  Grete Heublein (GER) Hagen 1932-06-19
42.43  Jadwiga Wajs (POL) Lodz 1932-06-19
43.08  Jadwiga Wajs (POL) Królewska Huta 1933-07-15
43.795  Jadwiga Wajs (POL) London 1934-08-11
44.34  Gisela Mauermayer (GER) Ulm 1935-06-02
44.76  Gisela Mauermayer (GER) Nuremberg 1935-06-04
45.53  Gisela Mauermayer (GER) Munich 1935-06-23
46.10  Gisela Mauermayer (GER) Jena 1935-06-29
47.12  Gisela Mauermayer (GER) Dresden 1935-08-25
48.31  Gisela Mauermayer (GER) Dresden 1936-07-11
53.25  Nina Dumbadze (URS) Moscow 1948-08-08
53.37  Nina Dumbadze (URS) Gori 1951-05-27
53.61  Nina Romashkova (URS) Odessa 1952-08-09
57.04  Nina Dumbadze (URS) Tblisi 1952-10-18
57.15  Tamara Press (URS) Rome 1960-09-12
57.43  Tamara Press (URS) Moscow 1961-07-15
58.06  Tamara Press (URS) Sofia 1961-09-01
58.98  Tamara Press (URS) London 1961-09-20
59.29  Tamara Press (URS) Moscow 1963-05-19
59.70  Tamara Press (URS) Moscow 1965-08-11
61.26  Liesel Westermann (FRG) São Paulo 1967-11-05
61.64  Christine Spielberg (GDR) Regis-Breitingen 1968-05-26
62.54  Liesel Westermann (FRG) Werdohl 1968-08-24
62.70  Liesel Westermann (FRG) Berlin 1969-06-18
63.96  Liesel Westermann (FRG) Hamburg 1969-09-27
64.22  Faina Melnyk (URS) Helsinki 1971-08-12
64.88  Faina Melnyk (URS) Munich 1971-09-04
65.42  Faina Melnyk (URS) Moscow 1972-05-31
65.48  Faina Melnyk (URS) Augsburg 1972-06-24
66.76  Faina Melnyk (URS) Moscow 1972-08-04
67.32  Argentina Menis (ROM) Bucharest 1972-09-23
67.44  Faina Melnyk (URS) Riga 1973-05-25
67.58  Faina Melnyk (URS) Moscow 1973-07-11
69.48  Faina Melnyk (URS) Edinburgh 1973-09-07
69.90  Faina Melnyk (URS) Prague 1974-05-27
70.20  Faina Melnyk (URS) Zurich 1975-08-20
70.50  Faina Melnyk (URS) Sochi 1976-04-24
70.72  Evelin Jahl (GDR) Dresden 1978-08-12
71.50  Evelin Jahl (GDR) Potsdam 1980-05-10
71.80  Maria Petkova (BUL) Sofia 1980-07-15
73.26  Galina Savinkova (URS) Lessilidse 1983-05-23
73.36  Irina Meszynski (GDR) Prague 1984-08-17
74.56  Zdenka Šilhavá (TCH) Nitra 1984-08-26
76.80  Gabriele Reinsch (GDR) Neubrandenburg 1988-07-09

See also


  1. ^ - IAAF All-time top Discus throws URL last accessed on 2007-01-30