ARTICLE WAINAO N°2 - DEFYING GODS
MAY 25th 1996, JAN ZELEZNI broke the world record throwing the javelin with 98.48...despite the fact that international organization had already changed the rules before to prevent throwers to reach that kind of distance.
The javelin has a strong historic record, going back around 3000 years, to the times of the Mycenaean’s and the Romans. The Javelin was originally designed as an offensive weapon and used in favour of the spear as it was lighter and could be thrown rather than thrust, allowing long distance attacks against an enemy. RULES: Gloves aren't allowed, and tape on the fingers is permitted only if its to cover an open wound. The javelin must be thrown with an over-the-shoulder motion. The competitor can't turn his back to the throwing area until the javelin is airborne. Javelin throwers are among the most adaptable athletes in sports today.
In the last 25 years they have endured and adjusted to more rules changes and amendments. Two "problems" led to the initial rule changes; first, the javelin's flight was of such aerodynamic excellence that its approach to the landing area was often flat and gradual, much like an airplane making a perfect three-point landing. This caused the shaft to occasionally "skip" on impact, instead of sticking, making an accurate mark difficult. The second perceived problem was the natural result of athletic excellence; the extreme distances were outgrowing the limits of the infield.
On July 20, 1984 at the Olympic Day of Athletics, a track and field meet held in East Berlin, Uwe Hohn launched a javelin throw the likes of which has never been seen before or since. He flung his silver-grey spear so far that it landed on the edge of the field not far from the oval track. He had become the first and still only person to toss the javelin further than the one hundred meter mark. People began to worry that Hohn might one day toss the javelin onto the track or into the stands.
Enter the International Association of Athletics Federations, Track and Field's international governing body. Out of their 1986 Stockholm think sessions came a heavier (800g) and more forward-weighted implement, which resulted in a steeper descent but a shorter flight. Hohn said: ''It means that my record will last,yes, forever,'' he said last fall. ''That's satisfying, but also disappointing, because it's natural to want to improve. But the new javelin won't allow it. We'll all try our best, but we all have to adjust our minds, too.''
These changes mean that during flight the javelin has an increased downward pitching moment. No matter how you throw the javelin it always tends to pitch forward. This reduces the lift on the javelin, bringing down the nose of the javelin and meaning that it will stop climbing and start to descend. The point in flight when the nose starts to point down occurs much earlier than with the previous javelin design, meaning it will start to descend earlier and hence travel a shorter distance. The blunter tip introduced as part of the redesign means the shape of the javelin is much less aerodynamic. This creates increased drag forces which slow the javelin down, further reducing its flight distance. …This is in that context that JAN ZELEZNI enter this 19th august 1996…
JAN ZELEZNY is a retired Czech track and field athlete who competed in the javelin throw. He was a World and Olympic Champion and holds the world record with a throw of 98.48 m. Widely considered to be the greatest javelin thrower of the modern era, Železný was born in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia. He won the gold at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympic Games and silver in the 1988 Olympicsas well as three World Championship titles; in 1993, 1995 and 2001. Železný holds the world record, at 98.48 metres (323 ft 1 in) set in 1996, Železný is also the only athlete to throw more than 95 meters with the new type of javelin.
It was an early season meeting in a summer where everything was building towards the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Zelezny's name was announced. The fans started clapping, his ran-up and threw the javelin and it seemed like it would never come down. The javelin landed at an amazing 98.48m. Almost 100 m! STUNNING ! Jan Zelezny's phenomenal world javelin record of 98.48 metres in Jena, eastern Germany forced the international authorities to alter the event once again for safety reasons. He has now taken the world record perilously close to 100 metres.
East Germany's Uwe Hohn had thrown 104.8m in 1984 but it was before the IAAF brought in new specifications for the javelin and had not allowed serrated tails.
Zelezny really was in the form of his life that summer of 1996.
ZELEZNY'S TOP THROWS
1. 98.48m - Jena, May 25 1996
2. 95.66m - Sheffield, Aug 29, 1993
3. 95.54mA - Pietersburg, Apr 6, 1993
4. 94.64m - Ostrava, May 31, 1996
5. 94.02m - Stellenbosch, Mar 26, 1997
After that, THE IAAF WAS FORCED TO REWROTE THE RULES TO MAKE THE JAVELIN SAFER, AND NOW THE EVENT'S PRACTITIONERS CAN'T THROW IT AS FAR AS THEY ONCE COULD…..til the next man !!!!
What is interesting for the future is that Zelezny said after his world record: “I could imagine a better throw, better work with my back but the surface was fast, good wind and my top shape," he said. "For 100 metres I would need better technique. But I believe one day somebody will throw it.” It’s not impossible that the record will be beaten again.
To Know more about the subject:
Anglim, Simon et al., (2003), Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World (3000 B.C. to 500 A.D.): Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics, Thomas Dunne Books.Špotáková končí spolupráci s trenérem Železným" [Špotáková ends cooperation with trainer Železný] (in Czech). 13 November 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2019.Erich Bremicker. "Why did the senior javelin specification have to be changed?.Javelin legend Uwe Hohn to coach India, but there's a hitch". 28 August 2017.World Top Performers 1980–2005: Men (Outdoor) – GBR Athletics