Throwing Weight Around

Tom Dahlin holding trophy and American flag
All photos by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images.

As an Augsburg student, Jon Dahlin ’05 needed to find an event that would enable him to contribute to his track team’s success. His track coach, Dennis Barker, suggested the hammer throw would be a good fit—much better for him than the other throwing events. And Coach Barker was right-on. But neither of them likely suspected that years later, Dahlin would compete in various highland games, both nationally and internationally—and would rank 7th in the 2015 International Highland Games.

While at Augsburg, Dahlin not only set a hammer throw record; he shattered his own record by 14 feet in his senior year, achieving an NCAA Division III automatic qualifying standard in the men’s hammer throw. The new mark that he set—a 58.22-meter (191-foot, 0.0-inch) effort—was the second-longest hammer throw in the country, and his record still stands. He also holds the Augsburg record for the 35-pound weight throw, 16.48 meters (54 feet, 1.0 inches).

Tom Dahlin throwing

In 2007, as he viewed highland games on ESPN, Dahlin decided they looked like a lot of fun. He decided to compete. Scottish and Celtic in origin, highland games include heavy athletics (stone put, caber toss, weight throw, hammer throw, sheaf toss, weight over bar, etc.), as well as dancing, drumming, piping, and other types of Scottish entertainment. Weight over bar is Dahlin’s favorite, and he says the feeling of throwing a large weight more than ten feet above his height and watching it sail over a bar is “absolutely incredible.” At recent games in Arizona, hundreds of spectators stood within feet of him as he prepared to toss the weight, and he could feel the reverberations of their screams and cheers in the soles of his feet. He is convinced that helped him get the winning toss that day. Continue reading “Throwing Weight Around”