Over the next ten days I will countdown what I believe to be the Top 10 innovations to the track and field throws events. More than anything I hope to spark a load of discussion and discourse so feel free to share your comments, thoughts and concerns as the series plays out. Thankfully I can edit all the articles as needed.
Innovation № 10 began in the early twentieth century with the emergence of the modern discus technique; deviating from the old Nordic swinging technique to skipping and turning before the release. Examples of the emergence of the technique can be seen at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games (see link below). Although the exact timing of the current technique (beginning facing the back of the circle, and releasing the discus facing the front of the circle) being acquired has been difficult to ascertain, the technique was adopted by the late 1920s by most top throwers.
One of the first Olympic sports, the discus has a strong place in Greek history. Numerous ancient drawings and stories depicting the discus throw can be found. This is what makes the modern-day technique so impressive; that after thousands of years of experimenting with different concepts, we seem to have found a relatively stable technique for throwing. Furthermore, although there are similarities between the discus and rotational shot put footwork, the discus technique preceded that of the shot put footwork by over twenty years.
Of course as I say this, there will always be experimentation with techniques to push the limits of the human body even further when throwing. In 2013 world class throwers Eric Caddee and Julian Wruck are challenging the limits of the modern discus technique by adding an extra 90° in the rotation on the start of the throw (see example below).
For creating a throwing technique that has withstood the test of time, the modern-day discus technique is the № 10 throwing innovation.
* A special thank you to Norm Zÿlstra for his contributions to this article.