Women's throws | 03.01.2013
|Sandra Perkovic won in Helsinki and London in 2012.
Belarus’s Nadezhda Ostapchuk leads the world and European lists for the year with her national record of 21.58m in Minsk on 18 July.
She threw over 21 metres on two other occasions in local competitions during the previous five weeks but she was stripped off the Olympic gold medal because of positive doping tests the day before her competition in London and immediately afterwards.
The only other European thrower to go over 20 metres this year was Russia’s Yevgeniya Kolodko, who reached a personal best of 20.48m in the Olympic final to claim the silver medal after Ostapchuk's disqualification.
Kolodko went over 20 metres in two other competitions but chose to compete at the Russian championships rather than the European Athletics Championships, which were won by Germany's Nadine Kleinert with 19.18m.
It was an emotional moment for the 36-year-old Kleinert, who was the 2004 Olympic Games silver medallist and had finished second at three World Championships but never taken a major international title.
Russia's Irina Tarasova took the silver medal in Helsinki with 18.91m and was also the second best European at the Olympics in eighth place with 19.00m.
Nine European throwers went over 19 metres this year, including four Russians lead by Kolodko.
A good prospect for the future is clearly Germany's Shanice Craft, who won at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona this summer with 17.15m.
Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic compiled an almost perfect season, only losing once despite a busy schedule that meant she had 14 competitions.
She won the Olympic and European titles, and was a convincing winner of the Diamond Race with its $40,000 jackpot after winning six out her seven Samsung Diamond League meetings.
In Helsinki, Perkovic seemed to be in trouble after two no throws in the final but showed her fighting spirit by sending her third throw out to 67.62m, and that proved to be more than sufficient to take the gold medal.
She took the gold medal by more than two metres from Germany's Nadine Müller, who was second with 65.41m.
At the Olympics, Perkovic threw 68.11m in the second round and practically assured herself of victory with her third round effort of 69.11m, smashing her national record of 68.24m that she had achieved at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai earlier in the year.
Germany’s Anna Rüh and Shanice Craft finished with the gold and silver medals at the 2012 World Junior Championships, which bodes well for the future of this event in Europe.
Rüh even contested both the major senior championships of the summer, finishing fourth at the European Athletics Championships and 10th at the Olympics.
Unfortunately, as this a review of the year, it is impossible not to mention Russia's 2012 world leader Darya Pishchalnikova who sent her discus out to 70.69m at the Russian Championships in early July and went on to take the Olympic silver medal.
However, IAAF has temporarily suspended Pishchalnikova from 31 October after she apparently provided a positive sample at a meeting in May and her status is still unresolved.
Europe swept the podium at the Olympic Games in this event thanks to Russia's Tatyana Lysenko, Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk and Germany's Betty Heidler, the last three world women's hammer record holders and the top three on the world all-time list.
In London final, the 2011 world champion Lysenko lead for the entire competition after opening with 77.56m and improving to 78.18m in the fifth round but it was a close contest and little more than a metre covered the top three.
Wlodarczyk got the silver with a season's best of 77.60m while Heidler had to settle for the bronze with 77.12m.
At the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, which Lysenko did not contest, it was the turn of the 2009 world champion Wlodarczyk to stand on top of the podium.
She held the lead from her opening throw of 74.02m and improved to 74.29m in round four. Slovakia's Martina Hrasnová took the silver medal with 73.34m but Heidler had a disaster in Helsinki and missed the final after two fouls and then only being able to throw 65.06m in the qualification round.
Perhaps surprisingly the 2012 world and European list is not headed by the leading trio who have dominated this event since 2009 but Belarus's 2008 Olympic champion Aksana Menkova.
Menkova threw 78.69m in Minsk in July and actually had three competitions over 78 metres but all of them were in Belarus and without any international opposition. In London, she ended up down in seventh with 74.40m.
Five women threw over 77 metres in the world this year, all Europeans, and the remaining one was Russia's Gulfiya Khanafeyeva but the former world record holder failed to make the final in London.
As has already been noted, European throwers did well at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona , none more so than France's Alexandra Tavernier whose winning throw of 70.62m moved her up to third on the world all-time junior list.
Barbora Špotáková defended her Olympic title from Beijing in splendid fashion, with the best mark in the world when the Czech thrower produced 69.55m in the fourth round.
She dominated the competition in London and reached 66.90m with the very first throw of the competition, a distance no one else got close, and also had two other throws over 66 metres.
Germany's Christina Obergföll managed 65.16m, also in the first round, and that sufficed for the silver medal as she had fouls with her remaining five efforts. There were two Germans on the Olympic podium as 2010 European Athletics Championships gold medallist Linda Stahl took the bronze with 64.91m.
Obergföll and Stahl also took the silver and bronze medals at the European Athletics Championships but, in the absence of Špotáková, this time the women in front of them was Ukraine’s 23 years old Vera Rebryk.
Rebryk, who had an impressive pedigree during her teenage years and won at the 2007 European Athletics Junior Championships and 2008 World Junior Championships, took her first major senior honour with a national record of 66.86m in Helsinki.
Outside of the big competitions though, Špotáková was still the class act during the summer. She never finished lower than second in any of her 12 individual javelin competitions, including winning at the Samsung Diamond League final in Brussels with 66.91m to confirm her victory in the Diamond Race.
The Czech thrower is now taking a leave of absence from the sport in 2013 for maternity reasons.
Russia's 2011 world champion Mariya Abakumova showed good early season form when she won at the Diamond League in Doha with 66.86m but that was to prove her best for the year, although she finished 2012 as number three on the European list, and she was disappointing at the Olympics when she could only finish 10th.
One relatively new name to note, although she may be a few years away from challenging Špotáková and Europe's other top women, is Sweden's 17-year-old Sofi Flinck.
Flick, arrived at the World Junior Championships with a best of 54.85m, but threw a senior national record of 58.16m with her first throw in qualification. In the Barcelona final, Flinck was in the bronze medal position going into the last round but hurled her last attempt out to a massive 61.40m.
The 2012 European top 30 lists can be found here.