This event is similar to the hammer throw as seen in modern-day track and field competitions, though with some differences. In the Scottish event, a round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb. for men or 12 or 16 lb. for women) is attached to the end of a shaft about 4 feet in length and made out of wood, bamboo, rattan, or plastic. With the feet in a fixed position, the hammer is whirled about one’s head and thrown for distance over the shoulder. Hammer throwers sometimes employ specially designed footwear with flat blades to dig into the turf to maintain their balance and resist the centrifugal forces of the implement as it is whirled about the head. This substantially increases the distance attainable in the throw.
Wikipedia, Highland Games Wikipedia, 2012
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Photograph courtesy of Douglass Sisk Photography