He’s being called the best Scottish hammer thrower of all time—Highland Games competitor Dan McKim broke the world record for both the 22-lb. and the 16-lb. hammer at the Utah Highland Games, and IHGF CEO Francis Brebner called the action for IronMind.
Highland Games standout Dan McKim is a study in determination, but more than that, his T-shirt says it all: Believe. IronMind® | Francis Brebner photo
Dan McKim Hammers the Record Book at the 2014 Utah Highland Games
by Francis Brebner
International Highland Games Federation (IHGF)
Dan McKim, the current number one ranked Highland Games athlete in the world, made history once again this past weekend at the Utah Highland Games breaking both the 22-lb. and 16-lb. hammer world records, with colossal distances of 132’ 10-1/4” in the 22-lb. hammer and 157’ 7-1/4” in the 16-lb. hammer.
Only a month before, at the Rio Grande Valley Highland Games in New Mexico, McKim set a new world record in the 22-lb. hammer with a throw of 129’ 11-1/2”, a record previously held by Matt Sandford of Australia of 129’ 10” which he set at the Halkirk Highland Games in Scotland in 1997.
So far this season McKim has been unstoppable, coming out with all guns blazing. Several throws with the 16-lb. hammer had come very close to the world record of 156’ 8-1/2” established by Scotland’s Bruce Aitkin in Aboyne, Scotland in 2000. But this weekend it was destiny and divinity for McKim as both hammers fell together, validating McKim as the greatest hammer thrower of all time and the third athlete ever to break both hammer records at a single games.
The first athlete to make history with both hammers was Stephen King at the Inveraray Games in 1998: with the 22-lb. hammer King set the new record at 125’ 1” and with the 16-lb. hammer, 153’ 2”. The joy of holding on to this position for any length of time was shattered as just two weeks later at the Halkirk Games in Scotland, Matt Sandford of Australia traumatized the Highland Games world with throws of 129’ 10-1/2” with the 22-lb. hammer and 154’ 11-1/2” with the 16-lb. hammer.
In the opening event of Utah Games competition with the 22-lb Braemar stone, Jon O’Neil in his much favored event that took the win with a putt of 43’ 10-1/2”; second place was McKim with 40’ 10-1/2” and third, Chad Gustin with 38’ 6-3/4”.
In the 16-lb. open stone, McKim took a comfortable win of 53’ 10-1/4”. O’ Neil was second at 49’ 7” and Dan Williams third at 48’ 1-1/2”.
The 56-lb. weight-for-distance was McKim’s second win, a personal best and a world-class throw of 47’ 5”. Fouling on an extra attempt, he declined two additional attempts to rest and save himself for the hammers. The current world record is held by USA’s Eric Frasure at 49’ 10”, for comparison. Gustin took second at 44’ 4-1/2” and Williams third at 43’ 6”.
The 28-lb. weight-for-distance was history in the making as McKim let fly with a series of throws, starting with 87’ 5”, a foul of 88’ 6’, and a good throw at 91’ 9”. With three extra attempts, McKim upped the ante to 94’ 9-1/4” to set a new North American record, besting the former record of 94’ 2” held by Matt Vincent since 2012. McKim’s distance was within 1’ of the world record held by Scotland’s Gregor Edmunds of 95’ 10”. Second was Gustin with a very respectable 85’ 6-1/2”; and third Williams at 80’ 8-3/4”.
In the 22-lb. hammer, McKim made throws of 122’ 6”, 122’ 4” and 126’, and he wasn’t sure he had much gas left in the tank. After encouragement from fellow athletes and the crowd, McKim launched into a solar system of its own the world record 132’ 10-3/4”, making McKim the first person to ever throw over the 130’ barrier in competition. Ryan Stewart was second with 101’ 11-1/2” and Williams third with 96’ 1”.
In the 16-lb. hammer, McKim sent a graceful throw sailing into the record books with the 157’ 7-1/4”, obliterating Aitkin’s records. Second was Williams at 130’ 4-1/4” and third Stewart at 130’ 3-1/4”.
The 56-lb. weight-over-bar was a new world record for spinning by Williams at 20’ 6”, surpassing his old record set in 2011 of 20’ 3”. Second was a tie between McKim and Gustin in the traditional standing style at 16’ 6”.
In the caber toss, McKim reigned supreme, slamming home 11:55 for the win. Second was Williams with 11:30 and third Gustin at 10:30.
The finale event with the 20-lb. sheaf toss was claimed by Williams at a height of 32’. Gustin was second, also at 32’ and McKim third at 31’.
|4.||Ryan Stewart, Jon O"Neil Itie)||36.0|
McKim has been improving games after games, churning out field and world records at nearly every competition he participates in. Now, adding two world records in the hammers at a single games, as well as knocking on the door of both weight-for-distance world records, there is no doubt in my mind that here is man who is still improving and will turn out to be the greatest heavyweight athlete of all time!
McKim noted it felt pretty unbelievable to be both world champion and world record holder in both hammers: “I never dreamed I would be doing this, in this position. We can make all our plans and dreams but when God takes over, it just blows you away with what He can do.”
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