History Misc Musings

The Javelin Record Was Broken by Spinning it Like a Discus


In 1956 a Spaniard named Felix Erausquin introduced his own technique for throwing the javelin where he would spin around on the spot and release the javelin, similar to a discus throw, this was dubbed the “Spanish Style” of javelin throwing and enabled the throwers to achieve incredible distances before it was banned almost immediately by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for being an incredibly dangerous method of throwing.

The furthest that a javelin has ever been thrown in an official Olympic event is 104  meters which was thrown by Uwe Hohn in the 1984 Olympics, however under the spinning technique Erausquin managed to throw the javelin 112 meters, smashing this record by 8 meters! However the throw was disqualified by the IAAF and not acknowledged. At the time of the throw the world record was 83 meters with Erausquin’s throw being vastly superior.

There are some records of people using soap on their hands so that the javelin would come sliding out of the throwers hand faster and easier, using this technique there are rumours that some world discus champions could throw the javelin nearly 120 meters, however it is difficult to find evidence of these unofficial throws. Using soap on your hands was also swiftly banned by the IAAF.

Felix Erausquin
Felix Erausquin “Spanish Technique”

An interesting fact about the javelin is that as throwers get stronger and throw the javelin further they have actually had to make the javelin less aerodynamic so that the throwers cannot throw the javelin further than 100m (the length of the track). This is to ensure that there isn’t a possibility of the javelin being thrown out of the stadium and landing in the crowd. The javelin had to be redesigned following Uwe Hohn’s 104 meter throw in 1984, the javelin had its centre of gravity moved forward to stop it ascending and the tip of the javelin was modified to be more blunt and less aerodynamic. No thrower has breached 100m in an Olympic event since this change.

Further Reading:

4 thoughts on “The Javelin Record Was Broken by Spinning it Like a Discus”

  1. As a heads up Uwe Hohn is from East Germany and they boycotted the Olympics that year. The record did occur in 1984, at around the same time as the Olympics at an event put on by the boycotting countries

  2. Felix Erausquin (Erauskin) was my grandfather’s brother. Really glad to see this very accurate article in here. I just wanted to say that it was the “Basque Style” not Spanish. The style was borrowed from a traditional Basque sport and adapted to javelin. Unfortunately during those terrible times, we had the Catholic – Fascist dictatorship of Franco and nothing “Basque” was allowed.
    Best regards

  3. Hi there!

    Sorry, but no one has ever thrown a javelin better then the World record with the spinning technique, thats a myth!!

    Best regards
    Anders Walther, Javelincoach

  4. It was mainly developped by Miguel de la Cuadra Salcedo, not only Félix Eráusquin. Miguel was the man who threw 112 meters

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