As a javelin enthusiast and a new member of the throwholics team I would like to begin by opening a debate.
The lightest of the throwing events saw its golden age (post 1986 redesign) during the 1990’s. Anyone of our followers who can remember these glory days will no doubt remember the likes of Steve Backley, Raymond Hecht, Aki Parviainen not to mention the legend that is Jan Zelezny. How many of you recall that fantastic night in 1996, where Zelezny, wearing his red tights threw an impossible distance, the javelin seemingly in the air for an eternity and still it kept going? A World Record; 98.48m (323′ 1″) and only 152cm (4′ 11″) off the magical 100m (328′ 1″) mark.
Jump forward 17 years. Science and education has improved our training regimes, our dietry plans, our attitude to supplements, rest periods, lifting and conditioning. In a time where the majority of track world records are being set or at least being tested, the javelin event (and other throwing events) appear to be going backwards (London 2012, Keshorn Walcott gold medal with 84.58m (277′ 5″) or Daegu 2011, Matthias de Zordo gold medal with 86.27m (283′)).
Since 2002 no thrower has thrown over 92m (301′ 10″), the top 5 distances ever thrown (post 1986) were thrown over 10 years ago. What has happened to the throwing events, not just the javelin but all throws. Are we seeing a time where the javelin event is experiencing a slump, or during the 1990’s especially, were we spoiled by a super human group of throwers? Should we expect to see year on year comparable throwing distances if not an increase in them, (look to the 100m (328′ 1″) to see an example of this) or should we accept the fact that certain generations are going to be better than others, despite the advancement in training, science and nutrition?