Daniel Haugh — Weight WR Was Nice But The Goal Is Paris

After steady hammer progress at championships and in the World Rankings (10, 8, 6 the last 3 years), Haugh sees his weight breakthrough as a springboard toward the Olympics. (KEVIN MORRIS)


Sound like asceticism? For Daniel Haugh, it means athleticism.

And maybe a World Record and an Olympic medal? One down, one to go.

“He’s the perfect athlete. He does everything right,” said Mike Judge, the throws coach at Kennesaw State.

Especially now that Haugh is getting some sleep.

Haugh got it right at the USATF Indoor Championships last week. His fifth-round throw of 86-5 (26.35) in the 35lb weight broke the record of 84-10¼ (25.86) held by Lance Deal.

Deal spun out his big mark in 1995, or almost 17 months before he won a silver medal in the hammer at the Atlanta Olympics. Deal is the only American hammer medalist in an Olympics since 1956.

Success throwing the 191bs-heavier weight doesn’t necessarily translate to the 16lb hammer. For the 28-year-old Haugh, it has.

He has finished 1st or 2nd at USA championships in the weight/hammer in 9 of 10 nationals since 2019, a year in which he won the USATF weight and NCAA hammer. He became the first athlete out of Kennesaw or the Atlantic Sun Conference to win an NCAA title.

The WR was “an immediate mental boost,” Haugh said. “Hammer throw has been going extremely well. Gotta just keep chugging and not get hurt, not be a bonehead.”

He attributed his breakout performance to training since April 2023 without injury, changing diet and addressing a sleep disorder. Haugh, at 235 to 240 pounds (106 to 109kg), said he has lost nearly 30lb (14kg).

He said he was awakening 28 times an hour until a lab test. The condition is being treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a common therapy for sleep apnea.

“We try to do everything right, and he has nailed about 98 percent of it,” Judge said. “And this is an Olympic year, so we’re trying to get 100 percent.

“So we’re making sure the diet’s right. We’re making sure the sleep is right. We’re trying to leave no stone unturned because it’s an Olympic year and the next one is in 4 years.”

In the hammer, Haugh has gradually climbed at global championships: 24th in 2019, 11th in 2021, 8th in 2022, 6th in 2023. He won a silver medal in the Pan-Am Games at Santiago, Chile, last fall behind Ethan Katzberg, the 21-year-old world champion from Canada.

It helps to have Isaiah Rogers as a training partner. Rogers was runner-up in the weight at Albuquerque and NCAA champion for Kennesaw State in 2023.

“All the people we have here are pretty special,” Rogers told an Atlanta television station. “We all have the goal of excellence, making this one of the best throwing centers in the world.”

Haugh said the two are best friends.

“It’s great to have someone in the trenches with you that gets it,” Haugh said.

He was not altogether surprised by the WR after reaching 25 meters (82-¼) in training. Haugh has been prioritizing hammer this winter and said he didn’t begin throwing the weight until about 10 days out from Albuquerque. But had been aiming at 26 meters at least since 2017.

“So I knew when I let it go,” he said, “That’s the throw I’ve been working for.“

Or, rather, the weight throw he has been working toward.

Haugh’s ’23 hammer season left him ranked No. 9 in the world and second American behind Rudy Winkler, the No. 3 World Ranker last year. At Pan-Ams, Haugh beat Winkler, who had placed 8th at Worlds, by a place as both reached the podium.

“The Olympics is what matters,” Haugh said.