Wlodarczyk's record win gives Poland hammer throw sweep
BEIJING (AP) The more Anita Wlodarczyk has accomplished in her hammer throwing career, the more she has learned to keep her celebrations relatively restrained.
The heavily favored Wlodarczyk won a second gold medal in her signature event at the world championships on Thursday, setting a championship record not once, but twice, and coming very close to breaking her own world record.
After her victory, she leaped in the air with arms thrust overhead and screamed with delight.
It was joyous, but far less exuberant than the last time she won the world title in 2009. After recording a world record at Berlin, she skipped across the track with abandon and paid the price: she twisted her ankle and couldn't attempt another throw.
''The title, the world record, I cannot ask for more this year,'' she said after her triumph in Beijing.
For the 30-year-old Wlodarczky, such accomplishments are apparently becoming routine.
Consider this: Since breaking Tatyana Lysenko's world record in 2009, Wlodarczky has bettered it four more times, most recently on Aug. 1 when she shattered it by more than a meter with a throw of 81.08 meters in Poland.
No other woman has ever broken the 80-meter barrier, but Wlodarczky has done it three times - including twice on Thursday night. She broke the world championships record with a heave of 80.27 meters on her third attempt, and improved it again 20 minutes later, with the gold-medal-winning throw of 80.85.
With two more attempts on the night, most of the crowd in the Bird's Nest, along with many of Wlodarczky's fellow competitors, thought for sure she would get another world record.
''I knew obviously she'd gone over 80,'' said Britain's Sophie Hitchon, who finished in fourth place. ''Once I knew my competition was over, I was obviously bigging her up to try and get the world record again.''
But Wlodarczyk's next throw only went 79.31 - still better than silver medalist Zhang Wenxiu's best throw by nearly 3 meters - and she fouled on her final attempt.
''I must admit I feel a bit disappointed because I really hoped for the world record here in Beijing,'' she said. ''But it motivated me for the next competition.''
Wlodarczyk's victory came several days after Pawel Fajdek won the men's hammer throw title, giving Poland a sweep of the golds - a feat no other country has matched in the world championships. Wojciech Nowicki added a bronze for good measure in the men's event.
Their wins have helped propel Poland to a surprising fifth in the medal standings with two gold and six medal overall, albeit with several days of competition yet to go.
''I'm really happy that hammer throw is a leading event for Polish athletics,'' Wlodarczky said. ''I hope we're going to continue this tradition.''