From Academic Kids
The shot put is an athletics (track and field) event involving "putting" (throwing in a pushing motion) a heavy metal ball, also called the shot, as far as possible.
Competitors take their throw from inside a circle 2.1 metres (7 feet) in diameter. They must rest the shot in between the neck and shoulder, and push their throwing arm straight when they throw. When the thrower throws the ball the have to push the ball out and not throw it like a tennis ball. The shotputters must leave the circle over the rear half of the circle. The distance thrown is measured from the front of the circle to where the shot has landed.
Each competitor gets a certain number of throws, usually 6 in elite competition, and the competitor with the furthest legal put is declared the winner. In men's competition, the shot weighs approximately 7.26 kilograms (16 pounds). The women's shot weighs 4 kg. American high schools usually use 12 pound (5.44 kg) shots for boys and 4 kg shots for girls, these are sometimes known as practice shots.
There are currently two putting styles in use by shot put competitors. The first involves sidestepping to the front of the circle and releasing the shotput (the glide); a newer technique involves rotating like a discus thrower (the spin). In both cases, the key is to gain maximum forward velocity to help speed the shot on its way. Currently, most top shot putters use the spin, but the glide remains popular especially at the amateur level since the technique is easier to master.
Shot put competitions have been held at the Summer Olympic Games since their inception, and whilst the event is popular, competitors generally do not gain the same recognition as track athletes.
The shot put world record for men is:
And for women:
The top distances for the last decade have decreased, perhaps due to increased anti-doping efforts.