A review of throws innovations 6-10:
My number 5 throws innovation has become a fixture in every major track and field stadium. The throws cage has been vital to the health of the discus and hammer; allowing these events to be included in large stadiums and improving safety for athletes and officials alike. Typically made of large aluminum posts, which support the nylon netting around the throws circle, the throwing cage has become mandatory for all sanctioned track and field competitions.
The design of the cage ensures that the implement can only be launched onto the field of the stadium, in a predictable direction. Without the cage, the implement would be free to travel anywhere in the stadium, which could potentially injure spectators, athletes or officials. It is the nature of the sport that accidents happen (for example a thrower may slip in the circle and release the hammer prematurely), so the cage has been very effective in minimizing hazardous events.
Furthermore, without the cage, I can be sure that the hammer and discus throw would be excluded from the main track and field stadium, and instead would be performed in a ‘safer’ secluded area where the risk of injuring others would be decreased. In this scenario, the popularity of the discus and hammer events would be greatly diminished, as it would no longer be viewable by the large crowds within the stadium.
The throws cage does not rank higher on the innovations list, because although it does allow fans to watch discus and hammer in the main stadium, the cage does not offer an ideal viewing situation. Fans will often complain that the netting distorts the athlete and makes the event viewing difficult. Furthermore, many lower level track and field meets must exclude the discus and hammer events because many small facilities do not have the monetary resources to build a regulation throws cage.