discus throwing, gymnastic exercise of the ancient Greeks, revived in modern times, especially as part of the Olympic games (in which it is an event of the decathlon) and as an event of most other track and field meets. The discus used to be thrown with either hand, the arm extended backward and the discus against the forearm. The discus for men is a circular disk of wood with a metal rim, weighs 4 lb 6.5 oz (2 kg), and is 85/8 in. (22 cm) in diameter. For women the discus is half this weight and slightly smaller in diameter. In modern discus throwing, the athlete rotates several times within a circle 8 ft 21/2 in. (2.5 m) in diameter before releasing the discus. Generally, three throws are permitted, the best one scoring. Highly skilled competitors throw the discus 230 ft (70 m) or more.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.