Kenneth Flax (born April 20, 1963) is a retired American Olympic hammer thrower, whose personal best throw is 80.02 metres, achieved in May 1988 in Modesto.

Flax was born in San Francisco, California, and is Jewish.[1] Flax is a two-time Olympic hammer thrower, who competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. He competed in Track & Field as a student at Redwood High School,[2] and began throwing the hammer for the University of Oregon in January 1982, and by June 1982 he won the USA Junior National Championships and competed in the Junior Pan Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela. Flax later went on to win two Pac-10 championships and the 1986 NCAA Championships, throwing seven personal records in nine throws and broke the NCAA record three times in the process which still stands today as the American Collegiate Record.

After college, Flax went on to compete in three World University Games winning a bronze and in 1991 he won the gold medal, beating the former number one ranked hammer thrower in the world, Heinz Weis. One of the highlights of Flax's throwing career was competing in the 1987 and 1991 World Championships, where he finished 7th in 1991 marking the first time in 21 years that an American has made the finals in the hammer throw in a non-boycotted major world event.

Flax won the gold medal in the hammer throw at both the 1985 Maccabiah Games, and then at the 1989 Maccabiah Games with a 78.86 meter toss.[3][4]

In 2009, Ken was inducted into the Redwood High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Flax was the best field man in Redwood's track history, a powerful young teen who hurled the shot 57 feet—second all-time best in the MCAL. He has also been inducted into the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame.[2]


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing the  United States
1985 Maccabiah Games Ramat Gan, Israel 1st 68.34 m
1986 Goodwill Games Moscow, Soviet Union 10th 73.44 m
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 20th 73.36 m
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 18th 72.70 m
1989 Maccabiah Games Ramat Gan, Israel 1st 78.06 m
World Student Games Duisburg, West Germany 3rd 75.86 m
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 7th 75.98 m
World Student Games Sheffield, England 1st 76.46 m
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 23rd 69.36 m

See also