Top 6 Best Women's Shot Putters of All Time
While some athletes perform graceful displays of their talent, mesmerizing fans while blowing away the competition, shot putters rely on amazing feats of brute strength to win. While some of the best shot putters use raw force, those who set records combine that force with flawless technique. Below, the top six women’s shot putters of all time are listed.
Who are the Best Women’s Shot Putters in the World?
- Natalya Lisovskaya
- Ilona Slupianek
- Helena Fibingerova
- Claudia Losch
- Ivanka Khristova
- Marianne Adam
1. Natalya Lisovskaya
- Holds the world record for women’s shot put (22.63 meters/74 feet, 3 inches)
- Olympic gold medalist
- World Championships gold and silver medalist
When it comes to women’s shot put, no one has thrown it farther than Natalya Lisovskaya. In 1987 in Russia, Lisovskaya recorded a world-record heave of 22.63 meters, or 74 feet, 3 inches. That same year, she won gold at the 1987 World Championships and the World Indoor Championships, but she was not done there. The next year, she captured the gold at the 1988 Olympic Games. In 1991, Lisovskaya took home a silver medal at the World Championships, also winning bronze in the World Indoor Championships. Lisovskaya also completed the trifecta at the European Indoor Championships, winning a gold, silver, and bronze medal during her career.
2. Ilona Slupianek
- Holds the second-farthest throw in women’s shot put (22.45 meters/73 feet, 8 inches)
- Olympic Games gold medalist
- World Indoor Championships silver medalist
When Ilona Slupianek recorded her throw of 73 feet, 8 inches in 1980, it was a new world record. Though that mark has since been bested, there’s no denying that Slupianek is one of the best women’s shot putters in history. She seized the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics, her first and only Olympic medal. In 1981, she won golds at the World Continental Cup in Europe and the European Indoor Championships. Slupianek also won another gold, plus a silver and a bronze, at the European Indoors. In 1983, at her only World Championships, she captured bronze.
3. Helena Fibingerova
- Holds the third-farthest throw in women’s shot put (22.32 meters/73 feet, 3 inches)
- Olympic bronze medalist
- European Championships gold and silver medalist
Like Slupianek, Helena Fibingerova’s best-ever throw in 1977 was also a world record. She was a bronze medalist at the 1976 Olympic Games, and also won a bronze medal at the 1974 European Championships. Fibingerova did also win a silver and gold medal at the European Championships, but her real specialty was the indoor version of the competition. She won eight gold medals at the European Indoor Championships, the most all-time by any women’s shot putter. She was also a three-time silver medalist at the competition and was one of the most dominant European athletes of the 1980s.
4. Claudia Losch
- Holds the fourth-farthest throw in women’s shot put (22.19 meters/72 feet, 9 inches)
- Olympic gold medalist
- Three-time European Indoor Championships gold medalist
While Fibingerova was a force to be reckoned with in European competition, Claudia Losch was no slouch herself. She won three gold medals at the European Indoor Championships and also took home two silver medals in the same event. In 1984, she captured the gold medal at the Olympic Games, and she also won a gold and bronze medal at separate World Championships. Overall, Losch placed in the top three of international competitions nine times, proving her prowess as a shot putter.
5. Ivanka Khristova
- Holds the fifth-farthest throw in women’s shot put (21.89 meters/71 feet, 10 inches)
- Olympic Games gold and bronze medalist
- European Indoor Championships gold and bronze medalist
The only woman on this list with multiple Olympic Games medals, Ivanka Khristova was also the oldest among the top six when she set her record at 35 years of age. Her personal best was also a world record, as she was one of the most talented shot putters of her generation. She won the bronze medal at the 1972 Olympics, and followed that up with a gold medal at the 1976 Games. She also won both a bronze and a gold medal at the European Indoor Championships and set two world records during her career.
6. Marianne Adam
- Holds the sixth-farthest throw in women’s shot put (21.86 meters/71 feet, 8 inches)
- European Championships silver medalist
- European Indoor Championships gold and silver medalist
Sixth all-time on the world record list, Marianne Adam won a number of honors and awards during her time as a shot putter. In 1974, she won silver at the European Championships, but she had far more success at the indoor version of the competition. She won both a gold and a silver medal at the Indoors, and was also a two-time bronze medalist. She did appear in back-to-back Olympic Games in 1972 and 1976, but finished in fifth and fourth place, respectively. She is one of three Germans on this list, as shot put has traditionally seen a number of world-class athletes from the country.
Who is the best women's shot putter in the world?
Currently, the best women’s shot putter in the world is Lijiao Gong. Gong set the best mark of 2021 when she threw 20.58 meters (or 67 feet, 6 inches) at the Tokyo Olympics to capture the gold medal. She has also won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics and a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. In addition, Gong has five medals at the World Championships, including two golds.
Who holds the world record in women's shot put?
The world record holder in women’s shot put is Natalya Lisovskaya. The Russian thrower tossed a 22.63 meter, or 74 foot, 3 inch, record in 1987, the same year that she won gold in shot put at both the World Championships and World Indoor Championships. The next year, she took the gold at the 1988 Olympic Games, cementing her as one of the greatest women’s shot putters of all time.
Which women’s shot putter holds the most Olympic gold medals?
The women’s shot putter with the most Olympic gold medals is Tamara Press with two. Press is the only women’s shot putter to win multiple golds in the event, and she did so in consecutive fashion at the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games. Interestingly enough, these were the only two Olympic medals Press ever won.