London 2012 javelin: A history of the sport

London 2012 javelin: A history of the sport
London 2012 javelin is the eleventh London Olympics doodle, carrying on the tradition of a Google doodle every day of the Olympics.

It is believed that the first javelin thrower was Hercules, son of Zeus. The javelin throw event was first introduced at the 18th Olympiad in 708 BC Games. At the time, the event composed of two events: throwing at a target and throwing for distance.

Throwing for distance was similar to the modern-day javelin throw event. On the other hand, throwing at a target involved strength as well as co-ordination, as athletes would be expected to hit a target while riding a horse.

Going further back, during the era between the Mycenaean times and the Roman Empire, the javelin was a commonly used offensive weapon. Being lighter than the spear, the javelin would be thrown rather than thrust and thus allowed long distance attacks against one's enemy.

Even then, the sporting side of javelin was always an attraction. Athletes, however, used javelins that were much lighter than military ones because the idea of the event was to demonstrate distance rather than penetration.

The one major difference between the javelin of the ancient games and the javelin of more modern times is a leather thong, called an ankyle that was wound around the middle of the shaft. Athletes would hold the javelin by the thong and when the javelin released this thong unwound giving the javelin a spiraled flight.

Google has a rich history of Olympics related doodles. In 2008, there was a doodle celebrating the opening ceremony of the Bejing Olympics on Aug 8, 2008. This doodle showed the five Beijing Olympics mascots - BeiBei, JingJing, HuanHuan, YingYing and NiNi - carrying the Olympic flag.

Each day in 2008 saw different Google doodles being released. It is expected that this year too Google will stay true to its tradition and come out with a series of doodles spread across the fifteen days of the Olympics.

Olympic Google doodles

For more Google doodles, visit this page.

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