United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Javelin Latest Addition to Golden Age Games Competition

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Javelin

Latest Addition to Golden Age Games Competition

Veteran athlete preparing to throw a javelin.

Ninety athletes participated in the newest competition at the National Veterans Golden Age Games hurling a lightweight eight foot spear called a javelin; many of them for the first time.

Javelins were first used during the Roman Empire as offensive weapons. Athletes, however use much lighter ones to demonstrate distance rather than penetration.

A throw is legal only if the tip of the javelin lands within the designated throwing area, and the tip strikes the ground before any other part of the javelin. The distance of the throw is measured from the throwing arc to the point where the tip of the javelin landed, rounded down to the nearest centimeter.

Competition rules are similar to other throwing events: a round consists of one attempt by each competitor in turn, and competitions consist of three rounds. The competitor with the longest single legal throw (over all rounds) is the winner.

Unlike other throwing events, javelin allows the competitor to build speed over a considerable distance. In addition to the core and upper body strength necessary to deliver the implement, javelin athletes share more physical characteristics with sprinters than with other, heavier throwing athletes.

Preparation for javelin competition requires upper body strengthening and stretching exercises and lots of practice that is sometimes a bit unorthodox.

Marine Corps Veteran David Owens of Decatur, TX came up with a unique way to get ready for the Games newest event. “I live out in the country,” he explained, “and didn’t have any special equipment that I could buy so I ended up rigging together a javelin by taking a broomstick and adding some weights to it.”

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