London 2012 shot put: Google Doodle gets the ball in motion for athletics events

3 Aug 2012

Today is the start of the athletics at the London 2012 Olympics, and Google is getting in on the action as its homepage today features a Doodle that celebrates the track and field game of shot put.

Athletics has been contested at every Summer Olympics since the genesis of the modern Games in 1896. It’s what many people look forward to at the Olympics.

Today, for instance, the Olympic Stadium is expected to host up to 80,000 people for the start of the track and field events.

Shot put and the Google Doodle

Today’s Doodle features an athlete in motion as he vies to throw the heavy metal ball, known as the shot, as far as possible from the throwing circle.

The Doodle also features two bystanders watching the event, in a surrealist scene that would almost remind you of a painting from the Belgian artist René Magritte.

In the shot put, athletes must put the shot as far as possible. For men, the solid ball weighs 7.26kg and for women the shot weighs 4kg. Athletes start in a throwing circle and the shot must be in one hand close to or touching the neck. They then have to make the shot from this position.

Shot materials can range from cast iron to stainless steel and brass, as well as synthetic materials.

Dates of athletics events at London 2012

The athletics at London 2012 will take place from today until Sunday, 12 August, at the Olympic Stadium. Track, field and combined events will be hosted in the Olympic Park, while the Mall will host the marathon and race walk.

According to London 2012, the ancient Olympic Games featured the stadium race, a sprint that lasted for around 192m. It seems that winners in this event have been recorded as far back as 776BC.

The first modern Olympic Games in 1896 also featured a marathon, seemingly held to pay homage to Ancient Greece.

Women have been competing in athletics since the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

Source: London 2012

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic