P069Throwing the discus was one of the five events of the pentathlon. Originally the discus was made of stone, later of bronze, lead or iron. Excavated examples have a diameter of 17 to 35 cm and a weight of 1,3 to 6,6 kg. On average they weighed 2,5 kg, this is 0,5 kg above the minimum weight of a modern discus. The differences in weight are easy to explain. Each location had his own standard of weight. Moreover, the discusses for boys were lighter than those for adults. Three official discusses were kept for use in the Olympic games in the treasury of the Sikyonians.

The method of throwing can be observed on pictures, representing different phases of the throw. The right handed thrower brought his left foot forward and shifted his weight mainly to his right foot. With his right hand he swung the discus a few times back and forth. He slightly turned his body with the movement of the swing. After the last preliminary swing, he moved his weight on to his left foot and with a powerful swing he threw away the discus. Unlike modern athletes, Greek discus-throwers probably did not turn several times around their own axis. For that reason they probably threw less far.



© KU Leuven, 2012