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Olympic Shot Put Rules


Athlete holding shot put, only arm visible
David Madison/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
The men’s shot is a 7.26-kilogram ball of iron or brass. The diameter is between 110-130 millimeters. The women’s shot weighs 4 kilograms with a diameter of 95-110 millimeters. Shot put area and rules
The shot put circle is 2.135 meters in diameter with a wooden stop board 10 centimeters high on the outside. Competitors may touch the inside of the circle's rim or stop board during the attempt, but cannot touch the top of either the rim or stop board. The shot putter cannot touch the ground outside the throwing circle during an attempt, nor can he/she leave the circle until the shot hits the ground.

The shot must touch or be in close proximity to the competitor’s neck or chin as the attempt begins. The shot is put, not thrown, because it must not drop below its starting position during the attempt, so the shot putter cannot wind up like a baseball pitcher or even a football quarterback. The shot is put with one hand only.

The competition
Twelve competitors qualify for the Olympic shot put final. In the 2004 Games, 39 men and 38 women participated in their respective qualification rounds prior to the final. The results from the qualification rounds do not carry over into the final.

As in all throwing events, the 12 finalists have three attempts apiece, then the top eight competitors receive three more attempts. The longest single put during the final wins.

Back to Olympic Shot Put main page
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