With roots dating back to the 15th century, the contemporary version of the hammer throw is one of the oldest of Olympic Games competitions, first included at the 1900 games in Paris, France (the second Olympiad of the modern era). Its history since the late 1960s and legacy prior to inclusion in the Olympics have been dominated by European and Eastern European influence, which has affected interest in the event in other parts of the world.
The hammer evolved from its early informal origins to become part of the Scottish Highland games in the late 18th century, where the original version of the event is still contested today.
While the men's hammer throw has been part of the Olympics since 1900, the International Association of Athletics Federations did not start ratifying women's marks until 1995. Women's hammer throw was first included in the Olympics at the 2000 summer games in Sydney, Australia, after having been included in the World Championships a year earlier.