Why, yes he did.
I had a great time in Berlin talking about throwing with Torsten Schmidt. My sister-in-law Gay and I joined him for lunch at what the Germans call a “doner” restaurant. On Torsten’s recommendation, I ordered something that looked like a gyro and came with “double meat.”
It was excellent, and I powered it down. It would take Torsten about three hours to get through his, though, because it is hard to eat while being interrogated by a crazy American.
I had my ipad, and he patiently went over a bunch of film clips with me while Gay helped translate any difficult terms. I believe “hard ass” and “thigh” gave us the most trouble.
One idea that came up was that there is a certain style of throwing that works for women and not men. Women, according to Torsten, can do things with the 1k disc that men cannot with the 2k.
Most men, that is.
Torsten said that Lars Riedel is the only man he has seen successfully employ the “women’s” technique.
Let’s take a look.
We will start by comparing Lars with Franz Kruger, the great South African thrower who was trained to throw with a technique common to German male throwers.
This first photo shows them in pretty similar positions at the point where their left foot has turned 90 degrees as they unwind at the back of the ring:
In this next photo, the left foot has continue to turn and the right foot has just left the ground:
Now we start to see differences. Franz has been more patient with his head, which allows him to keep the disc back farther.
Differences are apparent in the following photo as well. Lars has turned his left foot much father than Franz, and his aggressiveness with his head has caused his shoulders to tip towards the center of the ring:
As the left foot leaves the back of the ring, you can see that Lars continues to lead with his head while his hips turn so aggressively that he appears to be backing into the power position:
Franz seems to be using a focal point to slow down his head and shoulders as he sprints to the center. His hips have not turned as violently as those of Lars, but slowing the rotation of his upper body allows Franz to keep the disc way back.
Here they are as the right foot touches down in the center:
The angle of the right foot is similar, but Franz is still focused on his focal point, so his disc stays waaaay back.
Next, the moment the left foot touches down at the front of the ring:
Both throwers have done a great job of keeping their weight back over the right foot, but look at the difference in the position of that foot. Lars has his heel up and turning like crazy.
Franz’s right foot points almost directly towards the back of the ring.
Here they are at the moment of release:
Lars has done an amazing job of cranking his right heel in an effort to get separation between his right hip and the disc, but I feel like his head betrays him once again as it pulls off to the left at the very moment when it should be tipped slightly to the right to help elongate the path of the discus.
Franz has not turned his heel nearly as much, but his hips reach a similar position to those of Lars and his head, tipped slightly to the right, allows him to maximize the path of the disc (as does the slight bend in the knee of his blocking leg).
So, if we accept that Franz’s style provides a sound example of German “male” discus technique, we can see that Lars did not adhere to that template.
Next up, we compare Lars to Franka Dietzsch.