Yuriy Sedykh World Record Hammer Thrower To Return To Cork City Sports

17:30pm Tuesday June 28th 2016

Yuriy Sedykh

65th Cork City Sports, Tuesday June 28th 2016 - Event Flyer

Yuriy Sedykh will return to Cork City Sports to commemorate the thirty second anniversary of the epic hammer duel at the Mardyke on 3rd July 1984, when the official world record for the hammer was shattered on no less than six occasions by the two greatest hammer throwers of the time, double Olympic Gold medallist Yuriy Sedykh and World Champion Sergey Litvinov.

On a balmy summer’s evening on July 3rd 1984, at the Mardyke Arena, in the space of an incredible hour, the world record in the hammer was shattered six times by a pair of Soviet athletes.

The Cork City Sports meet, began inauspiciously enough. Shortly before six o’clock, Sergei Litvinov, world record holder and reigning world champion, stepped into the circle and fouled off his opening throw. A few minutes later, his compatriot Yuri Sedykh, gold medallist at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, picked up his hammer and launched his first effort 86.34 meters. The 29 year old had gone 2.20m past the mark of 84.14 established by Litvinov 13 months previously, and set the craziness in motion.

Since 1980, the Soviet pair had dominated the event and swapped ownership of the world record four times in that spell. Taking full advantage of the perfect throwing conditions on a glorious summer’s evening, Litvinov’s second throw of 85.14m was a remarkable response to his comrade. A personal best, it would have been a new world record itself half an hour earlier.

However, this was to be Sedykh’s night. His second attempt was another massive throw, measured at 85.98m. His third throw went through the 85m mark and even his last legal throw was 84.16. In reply, the best of Litvinov’s remaining throws was 84.64m. He’d twice thrown better than the world record, yet his comrade had gone better than the old world record with four of this throws.

For this performance, Sedykh was judged to be the athlete of the meet, an accolade for which he was awarded the US Ambassador’s Cup.
Sedykh stated afterwards. “I think there is no limit to man’s ability. It’s good to be back in the land where the hammer event was started. The warmth of the spectators is something I will always remember from my visit to Cork.”

Sedykh and Litvinov ran a joint lap of honour on the track and received a tumultuous  reception from the capacity crowd.
“We were delighted,” said Owen O’Callaghan whose company, O’Callaghan Properties, had sponsored the hammer event. “ we brought Sedykh out on the town that night to experience some Cork hospitality.”
When reporters asked Sedykh whether his record was likely to be broken at the Olympics, he answered with an emphatic ‘No’. He was correct on that score. It stood for almost two years until he broke it again by going 86.66m at an international athletics meeting in Tallinn, Estonia. A silver medallist in Seoul in 1988, he moved to Paris following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Still the owner of the world record, he now travels the world giving throwing clinics

Unlike many hammer throwers Sedykh threw off three rotations rather than four. He felt three rotations were sufficient. With this technique he won gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics and 1980 Summer Olympics as well as taking first at the 1986 Goodwill Games and the 1991 World Championships in Athletics.

Tony O’Connell, chairman of Cork City Sports states that “Everyone has fond memories of the night 32 years ago that the world hammer record was broken six times at Cork City Sports. It is great to have Yuriy Sedykh back in Cork so that we can once again honour the man and recollect that famous night once more.”

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