Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Britney's Hammer

Britney Henry by Graham Smith

It was early in the morning, the bright yellow sun was barely over the mountains behind The ARCO Olympic Training Center, in Chula Vista, California. I was meeting Britney Henry for the first time. "Welcome to my office." she shouts and waves, "Follow me, I'll show you my hammers, first."

I ran to catch up with her across the dewy grass of the Hammer Fields, to a big green tool box. She opened it, lifted a metal object out and began to explain. "Ok, these are my practice hammers, the official ones weigh 8.8 pounds, but some weigh more, or less, depending one what you are training for."

The hammer itself, looks like a cannon ball hanging from a solid steel wire. The wire is attached to the hammer on one end, and bent into a triangular handle on the other end. The whole thing is 34" long. I had never seen one before, so I thought it was pretty neat. The hammer was heavier than I thought, when she dropped one into my hands. It was bare metal, heavy, it had remnants of chipped yellow paint on the front, and there were hundreds of tiny dings and dents etched into the steel. Impressed, I hefted it back to her.

"You have to straighten the wire out, so it flies further." Britney explains, as she bends the wire handle to get a kink out. She knew I thought it was heavy.

Britney grabbed 5 them in one hand and said, "Ok, I'm ready."

"You need help with those?" I offer.

"Nope." She smiles. "Let's go!"

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