1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Weight-throwing
WEIGHT-THROWING the athletic sport of hurling heavy weights either for distance of height. Lifting and throwing weights and different kinds have always been popular in Great Britain, especially Scotland and Ireland, and on the continent of Europe, particularly in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria-Hungary. No for of throwing weights is included in the British athletic champion programme, although “putting the shot” (q.v.) and “hammer throwing” (q.v.) are recognized championship events. In America throwing 56-lb weights for distance belongs to the championship programme. It was once a common event in Great Britain at all important athletic meetings, the ordinary slightly conical half hundredweight being used and thrown by the ring attached to the top, the ring, however, was awkward to grin, and a trilingual handle was afterwards substituted. In America the 56-lb weigh is a ball of iron or lead with a triangular or pear-shaped handle. The weight used to be thrown standing. but since 1888 it has been thrown from a 7-ft circle with a raised edge, like that used for the hammer and shot in America.
In throwing the athlete stands slightly stooping with his feet about 18 inches apart and grasping the handle with both hands opposite his thighs. The weight is swung round and back past the right leg as far as possible then up over and round the head and in the hammer throw. One complete swing round the head is usually enough as too much momentum is apt to throw the athlete off his balance. The weight is then swung round together with the whole body as rapidly as possible as in hammer throwing. The athlete works himself to the front of the circle just before the moment of delivery and begins the final heave with his back towards the direction in which he wishes to throw the weight. This heave is accomplished by completing the final spin of the body giving the legs, back and arms a vigorous upward movement and the same time, and following the weight through the uplifted arms as it leaves the hands, but taking care not to overstep the circle. With on hand a smoother swing can be made but much less power applied. In throwing for height the athlete stands beside the high-jump uprights and casts the weight over the cross piece, making the swing and spin in a more vertical direction with a heave upwards at the moment of delivery Throwing for height and with one hand were formerly event in the American championship programme, but have been discontinued. The record for throwing the 56-lb weight for height is 15 ft. 6⅜ in. made by the American-Irishman J. S. Mitchell. The record or distance, 38 ft. 8 in. was made in 1907 by the American-Irishman John Flanagan. In throwing weights large and heavy men have an advantage over small, brute strength being the chief requisite, while a heavy body makes a better fulcrum while revolving than a light one.