DON BABBITT: An Analysis Of U.S. Men’s Javelin Performance In International Competition 1983-2017

A collection of statistical comparisons showing how much U.S. male javelin throwers need to improve before challenging for medals on the world stage, with suggestions as to how this may be accomplished.

By Don Babbitt, University of Georgia


The United States has had a moderate level of success in the men’s javelin throw at major championships such as the Olympic Games and World Championships over the past 35 years, dating back to the first IAAF Championships back in 1983. However, in more recent times, this success has dropped off and it is now a rare occasion that a U.S. men’s javelin thrower will even qualify for the final in a major championship (see Table 1). For a country of 326 million inhabitants with a strong sporting culture, especially with regard to throwing things, it is quite an underwhelming performance. It is obvious there must be some issues within the developmental system that are not allowing the U.S. to keep up with the other javelin throwing powers in producing world class javelin throwers. The purpose of this article will be to examine and discuss four critical elements that are thought to be part of this current state of affairs:

1. Characterize the development structure and recent trends within the U.S. men’s javelin system.

2. Identify what levels of performance are needed to be competitive at the international level and the major championships.

3. Identify factors within the U.S. men’s javelin development system that could be holding back greater development.

4. Offer potential solutions to meet these performance targets.


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The 2016 European javelin champion Tatsiana Khaladovich has enjoyed a successful 2018, posting a Belarus record of 67.47m to claim victory in the Oslo Diamond League before capping the season with victory in the Diamond League final in Zurich. Here the 27-year-old talks a little of her athletics journey so far and her attraction to the javelin.

“My first experience of throwing came at middle school when I was 12 years old. Back then, we threw the tennis ball and I could throw it further than the boys, it made me feel very happy.

“On the back of this, I was invited to sports school for a six-month period where I underwent multi-events training. It was not until I was 14 did I start to throw javelin with the man who is my current coach, Valeriy Oksenchuk.

“It did not take long to learn to love the event. In fact, I loved javelin from the moment I held it in my hands for the first time!

“As a younger athlete, my hero was Barbora Spotakova, the two-time Olympic champion and world record-holder from the Czech Republic. I loved watching her from a young age and it was always fantastic when she threw the javelin more than 70m.

“Even today when I am injured or sick and I am unable to train, it is a sad feeling and when I can’t train I like to be able to do some form of exercise.

Continue on IAAF

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Zurich, August 30th, 2018

1.Andreas Hofmann GER 91.44m

2. Magnus Kirt EST 87.57m

3. Thomas Röhler GER 85.76m

All results / LINK

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Asian Games 2018 / Jakarta / GBK – Main Stadium

Results Link

India’s Olympic hope Neeraj Chopra (coached by Uwe Hohn) won the 2018 Asian Games’ javelin throw competition with a throw of 88.06m!  A huge record for India, a new PB for Neeraj!  What a road for the young 21 year old world junior record holder!

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