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What is Olympic Javelin?


What is Olympic Javelin? Long ago, cavemen threw spears at large animals. Their descendents, the javelin throwers, prefer distance to accuracy, however.


The javelin is held at the grip and thrown over the shoulder or the upper part of the throwing arm. Spinning is illegal. To constitute a legal throw, the javelin’s metal tip must break the ground.


The javelin consists of three main parts: a metal head, a solid or hollow shaft and a cord grip. The men’s javelin weighs at least 800 grams and is between 2.6-2.7 meters long. The shaft can be made of either wood or metal. The women’s javelin weighs at least 600 grams and measures between 2.2-2.3 meters long.

The runway is between 30-36.5 meters long. Throwers may place as many as two markers in the runway to aid their approach.


Athletes in the javelin must achieve an Olympic qualifying distance and must qualify for their nation’s Olympic team. A maximum of three competitors per country may compete in the javelin.

A qualifying round reduces the Olympic javelin competitors to 12 for the final. As in all throwing events, the 12 finalists have three throws apiece, then the top eight competitors receive three more attempts. The longest single throw during the final wins.

Read more about Olympic Javelin Rules and Scoring.

Back to Olympic Javelin main page

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