Track and field is a second class sport in the United States, and hammer throwing is a second class event in the sport. Both of these facts are unfortunate, especially since it is one of my favorite events. Lance Deal is the American record holder in the event, and was the Olympic silver medalist in 1996 in a sport where Americans traditionally do not fare well. I sent him an autograph request through the University of Oregon, where he is employed. He was kind enough to also send a quick note, and inscribed his autograph with his American record distance.