World Athletics Championships 1983 – 2013
The most striking aspect of this table is the extraordinary and yet rarely remarked upon dominance of Germany (these figures do not include East Germany), which has won 19% of all medals in the throws. To put this into its full context, this is more than the 16% of medals won by Jamaica in the sprints and the 13.5% won by Ethiopia in distance events. Its top star has been discus thrower, Lars Riedel, with five golds and one bronze in total.
Belarus has carved out a throwing niche for itself in the post-Soviet era, but not without controversy. Several of its medallists have had their results struck from the records as a sanction for doping, and more could follow, casting those which remain into doubt too.
Javelin has a different profile than the other events and, for Finland, the Czech Republic and Norway, the vast majority of their throwing medals have been in that discipline. In a javelin only medal table, they would take three of the top four places, with the Germans.
Shot putter, Valerie Adams (above), has won most of the medals listed for New Zealand, four golds and a silver. But she is not the only Kiwi thrower – Beatrice Faumuina took a discus title in 1997. These are New Zealand’s only outdoor world championship medals.
Tomorrow: The nations with the most endurance, who succeed at the distance events