While all of the track and field throws events can be a joy to watch, no implement sails through the air quite like you’ll see in these 5 javelin throw videos of world record holders.
There are actually multiple world record holders for both the men’s and women’s javelin. To limit the monstrous distances that were being thrown at the time, rule changes for the design of the javelin were needed. In 1986 and 1991, the style of the men’s javelin throw was updated and in 1999 the same happened for women. The multiple styles means that the videos below have a mix of classic and modern film quality.
Zelezny, a Czech thrower, set the current men’s javelin throw world record with a throw of 98.48 meters, or 323 feet and 1 inch, in Jena, Germany, on May 25, 1996. With the new style of javelin, Zelezny would set the world record on 5 separate occasions. You can see footage of the throw in the video below.
Zelezny also won gold in the 1996 Atlanta and Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. His long career included wins at the 1993, 1995 and 2001 World Championships.
The women’s javelin throw rules were updated in 1999, and 6 world records have been ratified since the new style started. Spotakova, a Czech thrower, achieved the current world record with a mark of 72.28 meters or 237 feet and 1 inch, in Germany on September 13, 2008. You can see video of the toss below. Spotakova won gold in both the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympics.
With the old style men’s javelin, no one topped the mark of Hohn’s toss of 104.80 meters, or 343 feet and 10 inches, from July 20, 1984 in East Germany. The javelin style would be updated for the 1996 season, and again in 1991, with shorter distances being the result. Hohn, who competed for East Germany, won gold in the 1982 European Championships and the 1985 IAAF Continental Cup.
This was the only world record that Hohn would set, but it is mighty impressive and you can see in the video below that the throw is in the air for a very long time. It remains the farthest that anyone has thrown the javelin of any style.
Competing for East Germany, Felke set the final world record with the old style women’s javelin, with a throw of 80.00 meters on September 9, 1988. She is the only female to throw any style of javelin 80 meters in competition. In total, she set the world record 4 times and won gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games as well as silver in the 1987 Rome World championships.
You can see video of Felke’s second-to-last world record in the video below. It is a distance of 78.90 meters from 1987.
Petranoff threw a distance of 99.72 meters, or 327 feet and 2 inches, in May of 1983 for what was then the world record. This was one of the final throws to help decide that a change needed to be made with the Javelin. Hohn’s 104.80 meter throw actually came after the rule change had been decided on, but before it went into effect. Petranoff competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games for the United States before winning 2 African Championships while competing for South Africa.
You can see some classic footage of Petranoff competing in the IAAF Grand Prix in the year before the rule changes took effect. The video shows a throw of 297 feet and 11 inches. You also get to see Petranoff and Bruce Jenner talking about what were then upcoming rule changes.