Romania’s Mihaela MELINTE has dominated this event since it became a major championship discipline in 1998. MELINTE won both the inaugural world and European gold medals, but last summer started a drugs suspension immediately before the Olympic Games. Without her the Olympic title was lifted by 17 year-old World Youth Champion Kamila SKOLIMOWSKA of Poland, who this summer has thrown a best of 68.48m and won the European Cup ‘A’ final.
The world number one, however, is Russia’s Olga KUZENKOVA who has the world’s five best competitions of the summer to her name, headed by a massive 73.62m in Alder on 24 February. KUZENKOVA’s more recent 73.40m throw won the Russian championships in Tula on 13 July and, with a total of eight meetings over 70 metres this summer, she is the outstanding favourite for gold in Edmonton.
Hungary’s Katalin DIVOS, who was fourth at the 1999 World Championships, is the second longest thrower in 2001 with 70.79m, and has had another five competitions over 68 metres, will not be competing here. Dawn ELLERBE, who took the US championship with 69.08m and has a season’s best of 70.62m, plus another three competitions over 67 metres, is ranked third in 2001. Cuba’s Olympic fourth placer Yipsi MORENO was second behind KUZENKOVA in Nuremburg with a season’s best of 70.41m.
Only two throwers have beaten KUZENKOVA this summer – SKOLIMOWSKA in Hengelo and France’s European U23 champion Manuela MONTEBRUN in Seville. MONTEBRUN’s season’s best is 70.28m and she has thrown more than 68 metres in another four competitions.