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In shot put, a track and field event that involves throwing a metal ball known as a shot, participants compete to achieve the longest throw distance. Shot put is often included in high school and college track and field events as well as amateur and professional competitions and the Olympic Games. Though some rules variations exist depending on the age and ability of competitors, the basic rules of shot put remain fairly consistent.
Shot put participants are required to wear a clean school or team uniform unless they are participating in an amateur competition that does not specify uniform requirements. No visible jewelry is allowed in most cases, though exceptions may be made for religious jewelry provided it is taped to the body to prevent movement. Gloves cannot be worn, and the hands cannot be taped or bandaged unless there is a cut or other wound that needs to be covered. Supporting the wrists with tape is allowed.
Once the competition has begun, participants can no longer take practice throws or engage in other warmup activities. An exception to this is made if the participant's coach or other official is present to actively monitor the warmup, though practice throws are still prohibited once competitors actively begin throwing shots.
Shots may vary in size, weight and material as long as minimum requirements for their construction are met. The shot must be smooth and round, solid and made of metal no softer than brass. The shot can be a solid metal ball or can have a shell of iron, brass or other acceptable materials filled with lead or other heavier metals. Shots are available in 6-, 12- and 16-pound varieties, as well as 2-, 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-kilogram varieties. Shots must conform to minimum and maximum diameters based on their weight to be allowed for use in official USA Track and Field competitions.
When throwing a shot, competitors stand inside of a circle 7 feet in diameter. A sector extending from the circle is used to determine valid throws; the two radius lines of the sector originate from the center of the circle and are measured at 34.92 degrees apart. A curved white stop board is placed within the circle between the sector lines, serving as an indicator of the valid throwing sector and as a warning of where the thrower cannot cross.
Putting the Shot
The act of throwing a shot is known as a put and must be performed in a certain way to be valid. The elbow must bend to draw the shot back, holding it near or touching the neck and chin but not farther back than the shoulder. The put itself is performed by extending the arm straight to launch the shot into the air; throws that bring the shot back or give it an overhand or underhand circular momentum will be disqualified. The put must be performed within 60 seconds of being called to enter the circle. The thrower cannot leave the circle until the shot has landed and the judge has called for it to be marked.
Measurement is made with a measuring tape from the inside edge of the stop board to the closest side of the shot once it has landed. If the shot lands on one of the sector lines, a foul is called and no measurement is made. If the shot lands outside the sector lines, it is out of bounds and no measurement is made. Measurements are to the nearest 1/4 inch or nearest 1/4 centimeter, though individual competitions may alter this as needed.