Game of Throws: Track and Field Star Laulauga Tausaga
By Tyler Strand
A Hawkeye weight thrower resets the UI record books.
PHOTO: BRIAN RAY/UI ATHLETICSLaulauga Tausaga practices the weight throw at the University of Iowa Recreation Building.
Throwing heavy objects
has come naturally for
since she attended a high school
track practice on a whim. Then
a freshman in Spring Valley,
California, she heaved a men's shot
and earned a varsity spot on
Six years later, Tausaga is
the most accomplished women's
thrower in UI history, owning
school records in the discus, shot
put, hammer throw, and weight
throw. Her résumé includes
multiple Big Ten titles, All-American performances, a gold medal at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships, and a discus title at this month’s NCAA Track and Field Championships. Tausaga’s discus title is the first outdoor national championship for a Hawkeye woman since 1985. Earlier this
spring, the communication studies
junior became the first UI woman to earn first-team All-American
honors in the weight throw.
Tips for the Weight Throw
Tausaga recently shared these
tips for the weight throw with Iowa
Magazine. The indoor event involves
swinging and throwing a 20-pound
ball attached to a triangular handle
within a 2.1-meter circle.
With your back to the landing
area, wind the implement in your
hand, swinging it past each side of
your body before spinning it overhead.
These movements generate speed so
that by the time you turn your feet
and spin (up to four times) toward the
front of the circle, you're able to push
the ball—and your body—in a
Instead of a wind, I use a cast-in
motion (similar to fishing) to
swing the ball side-to-side by my body
before pushing the ball and my body
into a turn.
For most throws, start controlled
in the back and build speed with
each turn. The fewer the turns, the
more force you must use. I only make
two turns, so I don't lose my rhythm.
The back sets up the front of the
throw. When you push the ball,
get down as quickly as possible, and
make sure you're balanced and the ball
is in front of you. By the time the last
turn comes around, swing the ball and
let it sail.
Watch Laulauga Tausaga in Action
Tausaga wins the shot put at the 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Big Ten Network host Spice Adams tries his hand at shot put against Tausaga.
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