56 Pound Toss Event at the Olympics

The 56-pound (25.4 kilogram) weight throw event was held twice, in 1904 and 1920. It was part of the track and field athletics program. There is a similar event in the Scottish Highland Games, and not unlike the Track and Field event of the hammer throw. Unlike in the Highland Games, competitors in the 56 lb weight toss are allowed to use two hands.

The 1904 winner was Etienne Desmarteau, a Montreal policeman who defeated crowd favorite John Flanagan, a New York policeman. His throw measured 34 feet, 4 inches (10.47 meters). The 1920 winner was Patrick McDonald, was 6-foot-5-inch, 325-pound Times Square traffic cop. McDonald was also second in the two-handed shot.

The 1904 Olympic decathlon also included the 56 pound weight throw as one of the ten events. The other events in this decathlon were 100 yard dash, Shot put, High jump, 880 yard walk, Hammer throw, Pole vault, 120 yard hurdles, Long jump and 1 mile run.

Resultshammer throw


  1. Étienne Desmarteau (Canada) 10.46 m
  2. John Jesus Flanagan (USA) 10.16 m
  3. James Mitchel (USA) 10.13 m


  1. Patrick McDonald (USA) 11.265 m
  2. Patrick Ryan (USA) 10.965 m
  3. Carl Johan Lind (Sweden) 10.255 m


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