"86.74 is going to stand for a long time"

How did the longest hammer throw in history become one of the most untouchable records in sports?

Updated: June 16, 2011, 8:14 AM ET
By Brendan I. Koerner | ESPN The Magazine

This story appears in the June 27, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

THE SOUND OF 100,000 HANDS CLAPPING has been messing with Yuriy Sedykh's mind all day. Three times he has stepped into the throwing circle at Neckar Stadium in Stuttgart, West Germany, to fling the 16-pound ball-and-wire contraption known as the hammer. And three times the beefy Soviet has failed to wrest the lead from Sergey Litvinov, his teammate and most bitter rival, who shattered the European championships record ...

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