Track & Field 101: Equipment

Posted at 11:21 AM, Mar 10, 2021


The discus is a wooden disc surrounded by a metal rim. The men's discus weighs about 4.4 pounds and measures roughly 8.6 inches in diameter; the women's discus is half as heavy (about 2.2 pounds) and a little bit smaller (7.1 inches in diameter).


The hammer consists of three parts: the head, wire and grip. The head is a solid metal ball of the same size as the shot (see below). The wire is .10 of an inch in diameter. The entire hammer must weigh at least 16 pounds; it measures roughly 3 feet, 10 inches. For women, the entire hammer must weigh at least 8.8 pounds and measure roughly 3 feet, 9 1/2 inches.


The hurdles used in Olympic competition consist of two feet and two uprights supporting a rectangular frame, usually made of metal. Attached to the top of the frame is a top bar, made of wood or some other suitable material. The width of the hurdle is between 46.5 and 47.25 inches, and the hurdle must not weigh less than 22 lbs. Counterweights are attached to the base of the hurdle and are adjustable so that at each height, a force of at least 7.9 lbs and not more than 8.8 lbs is required to overturn it.


The javelin has three parts, the shaft, head and grip. The shaft is a smooth metal rod tapered at both ends, with the head, a sharply pointed metal cover, fixed to the front end. The grip is positioned at the javelin's center of gravity. The men's javelin is roughly 8 feet, 6 inches long and weighs at least 1.76 pounds, while the women's javelin is about 7 feet, 2 1/2 inches and weighs at least 1.3 pounds.

Shot Put

The shot is made of solid iron, brass or any metal not softer than brass. It can also be constructed of a metal shell filled with lead. It must have a smooth outer surface with a diameter between 4.3 and 5.1 inches for men's competition, or 3.7 and 4.3 inches for women. The shot must weigh at least 16 pounds for men and 8.8 pounds for women.

Steeplechase water jump

The steeplechase water jump consists of a hurdle measuring 12 feet (3.66m) wide and 3 feet (91.4cm) high, followed immediately by a water pit. The length of the water jump, from the hurdle to the far end of the water pit, is 12 feet (3.66m). The water pit is 27.5 inches (70cm) deep at the end closest to the hurdle, gradually sloping up to track level at the far end; it's lined with a synthetic surface thick enough to allow the runners spikes to grip. At the start of the race, the water level in the pit is even with the track.

Vaulting Pole

The vaulting pole is the one field implement that has no official standards for competition. It can be made of any material and can be any length and diameter. The length of the pole is determined by numerous factors including the vaulter's height, weight, and personal preference.  Most world-class women use poles over 14 feet in length while the poles used by male competitors are often as long as 18 feet.