In the Hammer, athletes must throw the hammer as far as possible. The head of the hammer is a metal ball attached to a wire with a handle on the end, weighing 4kg for women. The athlete starts in a throwing circle, with the head of the hammer allowed to rest on the ground. Wearing a glove, the athlete rotates in the circle up to four times before releasing the hammer.
The distance the hammer travels is measured from the front of the throwing circle to the point the head of the hammer first touches the ground, which must be within the lines of the throwing sector. All hammer throws are taken from within a throwing cage, to protect officials, spectators and athletes.
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.
Find out more about the Women's Hammer Throw competition at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.