Olympic Women’s Hammer — A Dream Comes True

Poland’s Anita Włodarczyk added a record third straight Oly gold to her medal collection. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

“I WAS DREAMING OF becoming the queen of the hammer throw.”

With her third consecutive Olympic gold, Anita Włodarczyk’s dream came true. The 4-time world champion erased any doubts about her recovery from the arthroscopic knee surgery that kept her out of the ’19 WC.

“I have been injured and came right back from it and won an Olympic medal,” she declared.

Włodarczyk’s achievements ripple far past the hammer circle. She is the first woman in Olympic track & field history to win an individual event in three successive Games.

“She’s an absolute legend, an icon,” said Canada’s 5th-placer, Camryn Rogers (243-11/74.35). “Being able to compete with her and see the power and her intensity, it gets you going as well.”

Włodarczyk (257-6/78.48) scored a dominating win over China’s Zheng Wang (252-8/77.03), who launched a final-round seasonal best to deny Poland a 1–2 finish. Malwina Kopron (247-8/75.49) also reached a last-round yearly high as Poland added a bronze to its hammer collection.

In spite of the comfortable distances between the medalists, the competition for the second and third podium places was keen. In addition to Wang’s final-stanza bronze-to-silver heroics, Kopron had a tightening-the-vise finish of 243-1/247-8/244-8 (74.11/75.49/74.59) to lock up the last victory stand spot.

France’s Alexandra Tavernier finished 4th with a final-round 244-1 (74.41), while Romania’s Bianca Florentina Ghelber had the day’s sole PR at 243-4 (74.18) in 6th.

Nerves were abundant at the outset as all three Poles, including eventual 7th-placer Joanna Fiodorow (242-2/73.83), fouled their first throws. Włodarczyk appeared slow in the ring and flung her hammer into the cage.

Reigning world champion DeAnna Price also fouled, while U.S. teammate Brooke Anderson started safely at 236-9 (72.16). Third American Gwen Berry opened at 222-0 (67.66).

With 3 entrants each in the final 12, Poland and the U.S. had seemed poised to dominate the competition. But the Poles recovered from any initial jitters while the Americans apparently did not.

But for the shining exception of Price’s 2019 World title, the Americans have been challenged to carry over lengthy throws at home to equivalent performances on the world stage. Neither Berry nor Anderson, who ranked Nos. 2 & 4 on the world list coming into the meet, qualified for the final 8.

Anderson presaged this outcome by saying after qualifying, “I feel amazing to make it past the first round… I get the jitters and that was probably the most stressful part is getting through qualifying.” (Continued below)


first 3 rounds
* = progression of the leading throw; ¶ = athlete’s best of the day
Andersen 72.16*¶ f f
Ghelber 70.15 f 74.18¶
Rogers f 74.35*¶ f
Ratcliffe 72.61* 72.69¶ 71.79
Wang 73.21* 75.30* f
Włodarczyk f 76.01* 77.44*
Fantini 67.55 69.10¶ 67.91
Fiodorow f 73.09 73.46
Price f 72.87 f
Kopron f 73.09 f
Tavernier 73.54* f 70.81
Berry 67.66 f 71.35¶
rounds 4–5
Price 72.69 f
Kopron 74.11 75.49¶
Fiodorow f 73.83¶
Tavernier 72.64 f
Ghelber 70.32 71.70
Rogers f 71.14
Wang 71.09 f
Włodarczyk 78.48¶ f
final round
Price 73.09¶
Tavernier 74.41¶
Fiodorow f
Ghelber f
Rogers f
Wang 77.03¶
Kopron 74.59
Włodarczyk 77.02

The American squad finished 8–10–11 here, while Poland was 1–3–7. The favored Price, one of two with Włodarczyk ever to break the 80m (262-5) barrier, was 8th in an uncharacteristic 239-9 (73.09).

Price revealed that she broke a bone in her ankle two days before the Olympic Trials. “I fractured my talus and I had trouble throwing over 70m [229-8] 2 weeks ago,” she said. So she adjusted her expectations “from going for gold to just try and make it to the qualifications, then just try to make it to the finals and then just try and survive.

“Now I’m going to go home,” she said. “I’m going to get my surgery. I get an automatic bid for next year, 2022 in Eugene, and I can’t wait to get back and start training again.”

NCAA champ Rogers was pleased with her performance as she set the table for the next phase of her career. “My results today showed me that there’s a lot more in the tank and I’m all the more excited to build on it next year and to start planning for three years down the road in Paris 2024.”

Of her idol, Rogers said that Włodarczyk creates “the kind of environment you want for an insane and amazing competition. It was definitely the most incredible feeling to be throwing with her and to watch her win gold.”


WOMEN’S HAMMER RESULTS

(August 03) (temperature 82F/28C; humidity 82%)

1. Anita Włodarczyk (Pol) 257-6 (78.48)

(f, 249-4, 254-1, 257-6, f, 252-8) (f, 76.01, 77.44, 78.48, f, 77.02);

2. Zheng Wang (Chn) 252-8 (77.03)

(240-2, 247-0, f, 233-3, f, 252-8)

(73.21, 75.30, f, 71.09, f, 77.03);

3. Malwina Kopron (Pol) 247-8 (75.49)

(f, 239-9, f, 243-1, 247-8, 244-8) (f, 73.09, f, 74.11, 75.49, 74.59);

4. Alexandra Tavernier (Fra) 244-1 (74.41)

(241-3, f, 232-3, 238-4, f, 244-1) (73.54, f, 70.81, 72.64, f, 74.41);

5. Camryn Rogers (Can) 243-11 (74.35)

(f, 243-11, f, f, 233-5, f) (f, 74.35, f, f, 71.14, f);

6. Bianca Ghelber (Rom) 243-4 (74.18) PR

(230-2, f, 243-4, 230-8, 235-3, f) (70.15, f, 74.18, 70.32, 71.70, f);

7. Joanna Fiodorow (Pol) 242-2 (73.83)

(f, 239-9, 241-0, f, 242-2, f) (f, 73.09, 73.46, f, 73.83, f);

8. DeAnna Price (US) 239-9 (73.09)

(f, 239-1, f, 238-6, f, 239-9) (f, 72.87, f, 72.69, f, 73.09);

9. Julia Ratcliffe (NZ) 238-6 (72.69)

(238-2, 238-6, 235-6) (72.61, 72.69, 71.79);

10. Brooke Andersen (US) 236-9 (72.16)

(236-9, f, f) (72.16, f, f);

11. Gwen Berry (US) 234-1 (71.35)

(222-0, f, 234-1) (67.66, f, 71.35);

12. Sara Fantini (Ita) 226-8 (69.10)

(221-7, 226-8, 222-9) (67.55, 69.10, 67.91).

(best-ever marks-for-place: 6–11)

QUALIFYING (August 01; auto-qualifier 241-2/73.50)

Qualifiers: Włodarczyk 252-7 (76.99), Wang 243-8 (74.29), Andersen 242-9 (74.00), Rogers 242-8 (73.97), Tavernier 241-2 (73.51), Ratcliffe 240-2 (73.20), Berry 240-1 (73.19), Kopron 239-8 (73.06), Price 238-0 (72.55), Fiodorow 237-3 (72.32), Ghelber 235-4 (71.72), Fantini 235-2 (71.68);

Non-qualifiers: Hanna Malyshik (Blr) 232-3 (70.80) (farthest non-qualifier ever), Silja Kosonen (Fin) 231-3 (70.49), Na Luo (Chn) 229-2 (69.86), Hanna Skydan (Aze) 228-3 (69.57), Zalina Petrivskaya (Mol) 227-4 (69.29), Stamatía Skarvélis (Gre) 226-5 (69.01), Jillian Weir (Can) 225-4 (68.68), Laura Igaune (Lat) 224-10 (68.53), Iryna Klymets (Ukr) 224-0 (68.29), Rosa Rodríguez (Ven) 223-10 (68.23), Lauren Bruce (NZ) 222-1 (67.71), Samantha Borutta (Ger) 221-1 (67.38), Martina Hrašnová (Svk) 218-7 (66.63), Réka Gyurátz (Hun) 218-1 (66.48), Tuğçe Şahutoğlu (Tur) 216-9 (66.06), Nastassia Maslava (Blr) 213-9 (65.15), Laura Redondo (Spa) 204-9 (62.42), Iryna Novozhylova (Ukr) 196-4 (59.85);… 3f—Krista Tervo (Fin).

(best-ever qualifiers-mark-for-place: 10–12) ◻︎

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