Athletics at the 1920 Summer Olympics – Men's hammer throw

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Men's hammer throw
at the Games of the VII Olympiad
Patrick Ryan 1920.jpg
Patrick Ryan
VenueOlympisch Stadion
DateAugust 18
Competitors12 from 5 nations
Winning distance52.875
1st place, gold medalist(s) Patrick Ryan
 United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Carl Johan Lind
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Basil Bennett
 United States
← 1912
1924 →

The men's hammer throw event was part of the track and field athletics programme at the 1920 Summer Olympics. The competition was held on Wednesday, August 18, 1920. 12 throwers from 5 nations competed; four from Sweden, four from the United States, two from Canada, one from Great Britain, and one from Finland.[1] No nation had more than 4 athletes, suggesting the limit had been reduced from the 12 maximum in force in 1908 and 1912. The event was won by Patrick Ryan of the United States, the nation's fifth consecutive victory in the event. Carl Johan Lind took silver, earning Sweden's first medal in the hammer throw. Another American, Basil Bennett, earned bronze.


This was the fifth appearance of the event, which has been held at every Summer Olympics except 1896. Four of the 14 competitors from the pre-war 1912 Games returned: gold medalist Matt McGrath of the United States and three Swedes: fourth-place finisher Robert Olsson, fifth-place finisher Carl Johan Lind, and seventh-place finisher Nils Linde. McGrath, who would earn seven AAU championships from 1908 to 1926, and fellow American and world-record holder Patrick Ryan, who would win eight AAU championships in that time, were expected to dominate the event.[2]

Finland made its debut in the event. The United States appeared for the fifth time, the only nation to have competed at each appearance of the event to that point.

Competition format[edit]

The competition continued to use the divided-final format used since 1908, with results carrying over between "rounds". The number of finalists expanded from three in previous Games to six in 1920. Each athlete received three throws in the qualifying round. The top six men advanced to the final, where they received an additional three throws. The best result, qualifying or final, counted.[2][3]


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in metres) prior to the 1920 Summer Olympics.

World record  Patrick Ryan (USA) 57.77 New York City, United States 17 August 1913
Olympic record  Matt McGrath (USA) 54.74 Stockholm, Sweden 14 July 1912

No new world or Olympic records were set during the competition.


Date Time Round
Wednesday, 18 August 1920 10:45


The best six hammer throwers qualified for the final. McGrath injured his knee during the second throw in qualifying and withdrew, though still had thrown far enough to take fifth place.

Rank Athlete Nation Qualifying Final Distance
1st place, gold medalist(s) Patrick Ryan  United States 52.830 52.875 52.875
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Carl Johan Lind  Sweden 48.000 48.430 48.430
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Basil Bennett  United States 48.230 48.250 48.250
4 Malcolm Svensson  Sweden 47.290 Unknown 47.290
5 Matt McGrath  United States 46.670 46.670
6 Tom Nicolson  Great Britain [4] 45.700 45.700
7 Nils Linde  Sweden 44.885 Unknown 44.885
8 James McEachern  United States 44.700 Did not advance 44.700
9 Archie McDiarmid  Canada 44.660 Did not advance 44.660
10 Robert Olsson  Sweden 44.190 Did not advance 44.190
11 Johan Pettersson  Finland 41.760 Did not advance 41.760
John Cameron  Canada NM Did not advance NM


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games: Men's Hammer Throw". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Hammer Throw, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  3. ^ Official Report, p. 116.
  4. ^ Nicolson missed the qualifying round but was allowed to compete in the final after the other competitors petitioned for him to receive the opportunity.


  • Belgium Olympic Committee (1957). Olympic Games Antwerp 1920: Official Report (in French).
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 24 August 2007.