32¢ Men’s Shot Put
1996 Summer Olympics
Issue Date: May 2, 1996
City: Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
The shot-put was among the track-and-field sports included in the first modern Olympic games in 1896. In this test of strength and technique, athletes put (hurl with an overhand pushing motion) a spherical weight called a shot made of solid iron or brass. Men put a 16 pound shot, women put an 8 pound 13 ounce shot.
Athletes put the shot from within a circle seven feet across. An arch-shaped stopboard forms the front of the circle. To successfully put a shot, the force of the entire body must be behind the heave. Most shot-putters use either the glide or spin technique. Each starts with the athlete standing at the back of the circle facing back, with the shot in one hand, balanced against the neck. In the glide, he hops or glides toward the front of the circle while turning his body forward, and placing his leading foot near the stopboard. The arm propels the shot with a long follow through. In the spin, the athlete builds up momentum by spinning one-and-a-half time while moving forward to put.
In ancient Greece, heavy stones were used as shots; the British introduced the use of the cannonball. Improvements in technique have led to frequent world-record performances. Randy Barnes of the United States holds the current record of 75 feet 10 1/4 inches.