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a track and field event in which an athlete tries to throw a "spear" as far as possible
As per rules established by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the men's javelin must weigh at least 800 grams (1.8 pounds) and be 2.6-2.7 meters (8.5-8.85 feet) long, and the women's javelin must weigh at least 600 grams (1.3 pounds) and be 2.2-2.3 meters (7.2-7.55 feet) long. The javelin can be made of either wood or metal, but must have a sharp metal tip.
IAAF rules also dictate how the javelin must be thrown. The athlete must hold the javelin by its corded grip with his or her little finger closest to the tip. For the throw to be measured, the athlete cannot turn his or her back to the landing area at any time during the approach and throw, must throw the javelin over the upper part of the throwing arm, and must not cross the foul line at any time. The javelin must also land tip first within a marked 29-degree sector.
Throwing a javelin as a sport grew out of the use of the spear in hunting and warfare, and was a "natural part" of the ancient Olympic Games. It has been part of the modern Olympic Games since 1908 for men and 1932 for women.
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This page was last updated on August 19, 2018.