Shot put image 2 (Getty images)

Male

Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Joe Kovacs 22.03 United States USA
2 David Storl 21.97 Germany GER
3 Reese Hoffa 21.88 United States USA
4 Christian Cantwell 21.85 United States USA
5 O'Dayne Richards 21.61 Jamaica JAM

Female

Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Valerie Adams 20.59 New Zealand NZL
2 Christina Schwanitz 20.22 Germany GER
3 Michelle Carter 19.84 United States USA
4 Lijiao Gong 19.65 Pr Of China CHN
5 Evgeniia Kolodko 19.52 Russia RUS

Male

Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Randy Barnes 23.12 United States USA
2 Ulf Timmermann 23.06 Germany GER
3 Alessandro Andrei 22.91 Italy ITA
4 Brian Oldfield 22.86 United States USA
5 Werner Günthör 22.75 Switzerland SUI

Female

Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Natalya Lisovskaya 22.63 France FRA
2 Ilona Briesenick 22.45 German Dem Rep GDR
3 Helena Fibingerová 22.32 Czechoslovakia TCH
4 Claudia Losch 22.19 Germany GER
5 Ivanka Khristova 21.89 Bulgaria BUL

Shot Put

How it works

The shot, a metal ball (7.26kg/16lb for men, 4kg for women), is put - not thrown- with one hand. The aim is to put it as far as possible from a 7ft-diameter (2.135m) circle that has a curved 10cm-high toe-board at the front.

In order for the put to be measured, the shot must not drop below the line of the athlete’s shoulders at any stage of the put and must land inside a designated 35-degree sector. The athlete, meanwhile, must not touch the top of the toe-board during their put or leave the circle before the ball has landed, and then only from the rear half of the circle.

Athletes will commonly throw four or six times per competition.  In the event of a tie, the winner will be the athlete with the next best effort.

History

The Ancient Greeks threw stones as a sport and soldiers are recorded as throwing  cannon balls in the Middle Ages but a version of the modern form of the discipline can be traced to the Highland Games in Scotland during the 19th century where competitors threw a rounded cube, stone or metal weight from behind a line.

The men’s Shot Put has been part of every modern Olympics since 1896, but women putters had to wait until 1948 before they could compete at the Games.

Did you know

The rotational technique now also used by many of the world's top throwers was first popularised by Soviet thrower Aleksandr Baryshnikov in the early 1970s after being invented by his coach Viktor Alexeyev. Baryshnikov went on to set a World record of 22.00m in 1976.

Gold standard

Three men have won back-to-back Olympic titles: Ralph Rose (USA) in 1904 and 1908, Parry O'Brien (USA) in 1952 and 1956 and Poland's current Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski in 2008 and 2012.

In 2011, New Zealand's Valerie Adams equalled the record of Germany's Astrid Kumbernuss by winning her third consecutive gold medal at the IAAF World Championships. Kumbernuss triumphed in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

Icons

Parry O’Brien

In 1956, the American was the first athlete for over 40 years to retain his Olympic title. He also won a silver medal in 1960 and is credited with developing the glide technique, sometimes known as the O’Brien technique, which involves the putter facing backwards at the rear of the ring and then rotating through 180-degrees before releasing the shot.

Astrid Kumbernuss

The popular and charismatic German was the dominant female competitor throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. She won three successive World titles in 1995, 1997 and 1999) and landed the Olympic gold medal in 1996.