Throwers from eight different countries, including three defending Olympic champions, earned gold medals at the 2012 Olympics. One event was marred when the apparent winner tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but the overall competition was strong and competitive.
Men's Shot Put:
Tomasz Majewski of Poland gained a tight victory to defend his shot put title on the first day of 2012 Olympic track and field competition. Majewski trailed Germany’s David Storl for two rounds, with American Reese Hoffa
sitting in third. Those three held the medal spots all the way through the final round, but Majewski switched places with Storl with a third-round toss of 21.87 meters (71 feet 9 inches), narrowly ahead of Storl’s 21.86/71-8½. Majewski improved to 21.89/71-9¾ in the final round, while Storl held his position to earn the silver medal – leaving a pair of gliders in the top two spots. Hoffa reached 21.23/69-7 in the third round to gain the bronze.
Women's Shot Put:
Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus dominated the women's shot put to apparently gain her biggest victory over New Zealand rival Valerie Adams
since Ostapchuk won the 2010 World Indoor title. Four of Ostapchuk's attempts flew past the 21-meter mark, including a toss of 21.36/70-1 in the third round. Shortly after the Games ended, however, Ostapchuk lost her gold medal after testing positive for the steroid metenolone. Adams, the 2008 Olympic champion, led after one round and topped out at 20.70/67-11 on her third attempt, earning her a delayed gold medal. Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko initially snatched the bronze away from Gong Liljao of China with a sixth-round effort measuring a personal best 20.48/67-2. Kolodko was later bumped up to second place while Gong received the bronze.
Women's Discus Throw:
Sandra Perkovic made history by earning Croatia’s first-ever Olympic track and field gold medal. Perkovic took the discus throw lead with a second-round effort of 68.11/223-5, then secured her victory by throwing a national record 69.11/226-8 in the next round. Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova leapfrogged China’s Li Yanfeng in the fifth round, throwing 67.56/221-7, while Li earned the bronze medal courtesy of a second-round toss measuring 67.22/220-6.
Men's Discus Throw:
Germany’s Robert Harting
, the world’s premier discus thrower over the previous three years, maintained his status in London with a come-from-behind victory in the Olympic final. Harting sat in second place for much of the evening but unleashed a throw measuring 68.27/223-11 in the fifth round to earn the gold. Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi threw 68.18/223-8 in the opening round, which stood up for the silver medal, while defending champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia gained the bronze (68.03/223-2).
Men's Hammer Throw:
Hungary’s Krisztian Pars had been close before, finishing in fourth and fifth places in the previous two Olympics, but he led the 2012 hammer throw competition from start to finish in London, eventually topping the field with his third-round throw of 80.59/264-4. The previous two Olympic winners took the other medals. Beijing champion Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia had an up-and-down day with three no-throws, but tossed a season-best 79.36/260-4 in the fifth round to earn the silver medal, bumping Athens gold medalist Koji Murofushi of Japan to third (78.71/258-2).
Women's Hammer Throw:
Women’s hammer throwing is still a fairly young Olympic sport, having first been contested in 2000. The Olympic record was topped in each subsequent Olympics, and 2012 was no exception, as gold medalist Tatyana Lysenko of Russia beat the former mark four times in her six throws. Lysenko led from the first round and topped out at 78.18/256-6 in the fifth round. Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk fell as low as fourth and sat in third before throwing 77.60/254-7 on her last attempt to secure the silver medal. China’s Zhang Wenxiu appeared to have the bronze medal, but after an earlier problem measuring Betty Heidler’s fifth-round attempt was straightened out, the German took third with a throw measuring 77.13/253-0.
Women's Javelin Throw:
The race for the women’s javelin gold medal was essentially over after the first round as defending champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic opened with a throw measuring 66.90/219-5 that nobody else matched. Nobody except Spotakova, that is, as she secured her victory was a season-best 69.55/228-2 in the fourth round. Overall, Spotakova had the four longest throws of the competition. The silver medal was also decided in the first round as Christina Obergfoll reached 65.16/213-9. Fellow German Linda Stahl earned the bronze with a fourth-round toss of 64.91/212-11.
Men's Javelin Throw:
The form charts weren’t of much use in the men’s javelin final, as neither the season’s leaders nor two-time defending champion Andreas Thorkildsen matched the surprising performance of Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago. The 19-year-old, who won the World Junior championship the previous month, entered London with a personal best of 82.83/271-9. Walcott proceeded to beat that mark in both the first and second rounds, topping out at 84.58/277-5 on his second try to win the gold medal with a new national record. Ukraine’s Oleksandr Pyatnytsya reached 84.51/277-3 in the third round to take second while Antti Ruuskanen of Finland threw 84.12/275-11 in the fifth round for the bronze.
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