No athlete has ever mastered that equation better than Yuriy Sedykh, who refers to his elegant throwing motion simply as “the dance.” But his physical gifts are far from the only reason his record is so untouchable. Sedykh entered his prime just as the Soviet sports machine was at its peak, creating an environment in which even hammer-throw success was considered essential to national pride. The machine provided him with advantages that today’s hammer throwers can only dream of: generous financial support and state-of-the-art coaching. It also blessed him with that one key factor that few aspiring record-breakers can live without. A nemesis.