In the Javelin, athletes must throw the javelin as far as possible. The javelin in the men's competition is 2.7m long and weighs at least 800g. Using a run-up the athlete must release the javelin before the end of the runway, launching it with one hand held over the shoulder. The distance the javelin travels is measured from the end of the runway to the point the javelin first touches the ground, which must be within the lines of the throwing sector. The javelin must land on its tip for the throw to be valid.
In all throwing events, athletes start with a qualifying round. Throwing in turn, each athlete gets three attempts to achieve a qualifying distance, decided by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Technical Delegates. Once all throws have been completed, all athletes who have achieved the qualifying distance go through to the final. If fewer than 12 athletes achieve the qualifying standard, the best 12 athletes go through.
In the final, athletes have three initial throws, with the top eight after the first three rounds then having a further three throws. The athlete who performs the longest throw is the winner.
In the event of a tie, athletes’ second-best throws are compared, followed by their third, and so on.
Keys to success
Throwing events are not just about brute strength, but also about technique. Each throw has several aspects to it, such as the hold, the run-up or the turn, as well as the throwing action itself.
Breaking the rules
Throws can be invalid if, for instance, the point of the javelin doesn’t touch the ground first. Athletes could also be penalised for infringements such as stepping out of the front of the runway or throwing circle.
Find out more about the Men's Javelin Throw competition at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.