TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State assistant track & field coach Erin Gilreath penned an article on the hammer throw which appeared on the Wired.com web site. The former American record holder in the hammer throw, Gilreath retired from competitive throwing in 2010 and is now the throws coach at Indiana State.
Gilreath was on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, was a three-time USA Indoor Champion and a two-time USA Outdoor Champion. She was ranked as high as eighth in the world in the hammer throw and competed in the 2005 and 2009 World Championships.
“The hammer throw combines strength, balance, timing, and the absolute necessity of near-perfect technique in one of the most exciting and artistic of field events, as well as one of the most technical,” Gilreath says in the article.
Gilreath did not pick up the hammer until she was 20 after throwing mostly the shot put in high school. She did not receive a scholarship for college but found her way to Florida where Larry Judge, a former assistant coach at Indiana State and then the head coach for the Gators, saw the potential in Gilreath.
“He gave me a tryout, then let me walk onto the team,” Gilreath said. “I was throwing the shot again, but Judge had a lot of experience with the hammer and made pretty much everyone do it (throw the hammer) because it was so new to women’s track and field.”
Turns out she had a knack for it, and the hammer became one of her best events.
“It is very democratic, in that there is no single body type or skill that will guarantee success,” Gilreath said. “I was not blessed with the physical gifts of my teammates, let alone my competitors. Perhaps my strongest asset in learning the hammer throw was my stubbornness, and my equally stubborn, patient and persistent coach.”
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