The Javelin throw event will begin at the London Olympics 2012 on August 8. Google Doodle meanwhile displays its own version. What was used as a weapon once, became a sport later and is an integral part of athletic events such as men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon.
In the Nordic nations of Europe – Norway, Sweden, Finland – javelin throw bears great significance. A total of 69 Olympic medals in men’s javelin and 32 have gone to one of these three nations. Infact, Finland also swept the medals in the event at the 1920 and 1932 Olympics. In the 1920 sweep, Finland finished fourth too. This cannot happen again as only three athletes from a country can feature in a particular Olympics.
At the 1906 Intercalated Games, it was Sweden who grabbed four top places. In 1912 Olympics the event was two-handed javelin where in throws from both the hands were to be made. This was the only time that such an event took place at the Games and Finland took away all the medals.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decides the size, shape, weight and the centre of gravity of the javelin. In the international competitions, the men’s javelin is 2.6 to 2.7 metres in length while the women’s is between 2.2 to 2.3 metres.