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Encyclopedia > Athletics (track and field)
A women's 400 m hurdles race on a typical outdoor red urethane track in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in Finland.

Athletics, also known as track and field athletics, is a collection of sports events that involve running, throwing and jumping. The name is derived from the Greek word "athlos" meaning "contest". Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2592x1944, 1607 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Hurdling ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2592x1944, 1607 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Hurdling ... Womens 400m Hurdles The 400m Hurdles are an Olympic track and field (athletics) discipline. ... Track & Field is the name of a series of Olympic themed video games developed by Konami for several platforms since 1982. ... This article is about movement. ... Throwing can have different meanings depending on the context. ... Look up Jumping in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Greek language (Greek Ελληνικά, IPA // – Hellenic) is an Indo-European language with a documented history of some 3,000 years. ...



The original and only event at the first Olympics in 776 BC was a stadium-length foot race or "stade", run on a track. Ruins of the training grounds at Olympia The Ancient Olympic Games, originally referred to as simply the Olympic Games (Greek: ; Olympiakoi Agones) were a series of athletic competitions held between various city-states of Ancient Greece. ...

There were several other "games" held in Europe in the classical era:

  • Panhellenic Games:
  • The Roman Games – Arising from Etruscan rather than purely Greek roots, the Roman Games deemphasized footraces and throwing. Instead, the Greek sports of chariot racing and wrestling, as well as the Etruscan sport of gladiatorial combat, took center stage.

Other peoples, such as the Celts, Teutons and Goths who succeeded the Romans, enjoyed athletic contests. However, these were often related to combat training. In the Middle Ages the sons of noblemen would be trained in running, leaping and wrestling, in addition to riding, jousting and arms-training. Contests between rivals and friends may have been common on both official and unofficial grounds. Panhellenic Games is the collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece. ... View of the stadium of the Delphi sanctuary, used for the Pythian Games. ... For other uses, see Delphi (disambiguation). ... The Nemean Games were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were held at Nemea every two years. ... Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos) is a city in Greece in the Peloponnesus near Nafplio, which was its historic harbor, named for Nauplius. ... The Isthmian Games were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were held at Corinth every two years. ... The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow landbridge which connects the Peloponnesos peninsula with the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. ... The Ludi Romani (Roman Games) were a religious festival in ancient Rome. ... This article is about the European people. ... The term Germanic peoples may refer to: the Germanic tribes that in the first millennium were seen as a barbarian threat by the Roman Empire and its successors; the Germanic Christianity that in the second millennium came to dominate much of Northern Europe, politically organized in the Holy Roman Empire... This article is about the Germanic tribes. ... Combat, or fighting, is purposeful conflict between one or more persons or organizations,often involving violence and intended to establish dominance over the opposition. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ...

In the 19th century the formal organization of the modern events started. This included the incorporation of regular sports and exercise into school regimes. The Royal Military College, Sandhurst has claimed to be the first to adopt this in 1812 and 1825, but without any supporting evidence. The earliest recorded meeting was organised at Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1840 by the Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt. There are details of the meeting in a series of letters written 60 years later by C.T. Robinson, who was a pupil there from 1838 to 1841. The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich held an organised competition in 1849, but the first regular series of meetings was held by Exeter College, Oxford from 1850.[1] The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (commonly known as Sandhurst) is the British Army officer training centre. ... For other places with the same name, see Shrewsbury (disambiguation). ... Shropshire (pronounced /, -/), alternatively known as Salop[6] or abbreviated Shrops[7], is a county in the West Midlands of England. ... Shrewsbury School (formally known as King Edward VI Grammar School, Shrewsbury) is an independent school, located in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. ... and of the Exeter College College name Exeter College Latin name Collegium Exoniense Named after Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter Established 1314 Sister college Emmanuel College, Cambridge Rector Ms Frances Cairncross JCR president Edward Moores Undergraduates 299 MCR president Sara Adams Graduates 150 Location of Exeter College within central...

Modern athletic events are usually organized around a 400 meter running track on which most of the running events take place. Field events (vaulting, jumping, and throwing) often take place on the infield, inside the track.

Athletics was included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has formed their backbone ever since. Women were first allowed to participate in track and field events in the 1928 Olympics.

An international governing body, the IAAF, was founded in 1912. The IAAF established separate outdoor World Championships in 1983. There are a number of regional games as well, such as the European Championships, the Pan-American Games, and the Commonwealth Games. In addition there is a professional Golden League circuit, cumulating in the IAAF World Athletics Final, and indoor championships such as the World Indoor Championships. The sport has a very high profile during major championships, especially the Olympics, but otherwise is less popular. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics (known in the US as track and field). It was founded in 1912 at its first Congress in Stockholm, Sweden by representatives from 17 national athletics federations as the International Amateur Athletics Federation. ... The World Championships in Athletics is an event organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations. ... The European Championships in Athletics is an event organized by the European Athletic Association. ... The Pan American Games are a multi-sport event, held every four years between competitors from all nations of the Americas. ... Current flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation Locations of the games, and participating countries Commonwealth Games Federation seal, adopted in 2001 The Commonwealth Games is a multinational, multi-sport event. ... The IAAF Golden League is an annual series of athletics meetings organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). ... The IAAF World Athletics Final was inaugrated in 2003 to replace the IAAF Grand Prix Final. ... The International Association of Athletics Federations World Indoor Championships were inaugurated as the World Indoor Games in 1985 in Paris, France and were subsequently renamed in 1987 as they are known today. ...

The AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) was the governing body in the United States until it collapsed under pressure from advancing professionalism in the late 1970s. A new governing body called The Athletics Congress (TAC) was formed. It was later renamed USA Track and Field (USATF or USA T&F). An additional, less structured organization, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), also exists in the United States to promote road racing. - The Amateur Athletic Union, widely known as the AAU, was formed in United States. ... Professional sports began at North Panola High School in the early 1600s. ... USA Track and Field is the authority on track and field events within the United States. ...

In modern times, athletes can receive money for racing, putting an end to the so-called "amateurism" that existed before. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Amateur. ...

Indoor track and field

Typical oval track consisting of two semicircles joined by straight segments.

There are two seasons for track and field. There is an indoor season, run during the winter and an outdoor season, run during the spring. Most indoor tracks are 200 meters and consist of four to six lanes. There are also some 150 meter indoor tracks, and others as small as 120 meters have been used. Some "oversize tracks" (larger than 200 meters) are popular for American collegiate athletics despite the fact that they are not considered valid for setting indoor records. Often an indoor track will have banked turns to compensate for the tight radius of the turns. The banking can help prevent injuries to the athlete, while also promoting higher speeds.[citation needed] Image File history File links Oval2. ...

In an indoor track meet athletes contest the same track events as at an outdoor meet, with the exception of the 100 m and 110 m/100 m hurdles (replaced by the 55 or 60 m sprint and 55 or 60 m hurdles at most levels, or the 45 m sprint and hurdles at the high school level), the 10,000 m run, 3,000 m steeplechase, 400 m hurdles. Indoor meets also have the addition of a 3,000 m run normally at both the collegiate and elite level, instead of the 10,000 m. The 5,000 m is the longest event commonly run indoors, although there are situations where longer distances have been raced. In the mid 20th century, there was a series of "duel" races on Madison Square Garden's indoor track, some of which featured two men racing a marathon (26.2 miles). However, this is an extremely rare occurrence, for obvious reasons. In some occasions, there may also be a 500 m race instead of the open 400 m normally found outdoors, and in many college championship races indoors both are contested. Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG, and known colloquially simply as The Garden, has been the name of four arenas in New York City. ...

In field events, indoor meets only feature the high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, and shot put (weight throw). Due to space limitations, these events take place on the infield, within the circumferential track. The longer throws of javelin, hammer and discus are added only for outdoor meets, as there is normally not enough space in an indoor stadium to house these events.

Other events unique to indoor meets (especially in North America) are the 300, 600, 1000, and 35 lb (16 kg) weight throw. In some countries, notably Norway, standing long jump and standing high jump are also contested, even in the National Championships. The standing long jump is an athletic event that was featured in the Olympics from 1900 to 1912. ... The Standing high jump is an athletic event that was featured in the Olympics from 1900 to 1912. ...

For multi-event athletes there is the Pentathlon for women (consisting of 60 m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 m) and heptathlon for men (consisting of 60 m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 m hurdles, pole vault and 1000 m) indoors. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A heptathlon is a sportive contest made up of seven events (from the Greek hepta (seven) and athlon (contest)). More specifically, the term heptathlon refers to an athletics event consisting of seven events. ...

Outdoor track and field

The outdoor track and field season usually begins in the spring and lasts through the summer. Most tracks are ovals of 400 meters in circumference. Modern "tartan tracks" or more recently "mondo tracks" are made with a rubberized surface; older tracks were cinder-covered. Tracks normally consist of 6-10 lanes (up to 12 lanes on the 'front' straight) and many include a steeplechase lane with a water pit on one of the turns. This steeplechase pit can be placed either inside or outside the track, making for a tighter turn or a wider turn. It is common that tracks will surround a playing field used for American football, football (soccer), or lacrosse. This inner field is usually known as the infield and has a surface of either grass or artificial turf. Tartan track is an all-weather synthetic track surfacing for athletics made of polyurethane. ... A cinder is a fragment of cooled pyroclastic material (lava or magma). ... The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics (track and field), which derives its name from the steeplechase in horse racing. ... United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... Soccer redirects here. ... For other uses, see Lacrosse (disambiguation). ...

All field events can be contested on the infield. However the javelin, hammer and discus throws are sometimes contested on fields outside of the track stadium[citation needed] because they take up a large amount of space, the implements may damage the infield, and the implements could end up landing on the track. However, some infields are used specifically for these events, and for the javelin, an athlete may have a longer run-up by starting it on the other side of the track, and crossing when there are no athletes passing.


There are other variations besides the ones listed below, but races of unusual length (e.g. 300 m) are run much less often. The unusual races are typically held during indoor season because of the shorter 200 m indoor track. With the exception of the mile run, races based on imperial distances are rarely run on the track anymore since most tracks have been converted from a quarter mile (402.3 m) to 400 m; almost all record keeping for imperial distances has been discontinued. However, the IAAF record book still includes the mile world record (currently held by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco for men and Svetlana Masterkova of Russia for women) because of its worldwide historic significance. Hicham El Guerrouj (Arabic: هشام الكروج, born September 14, 1974, Berkane) is a retired Moroccan middle distance runner. ... Svetlana Alexandrovna Masterkova (born January 17, 1968) is a former Russian middle distance runner. ...

Men and women do not compete against each other, although they may sometimes run in the same races due to time constraints at high school meets. Women generally run the same distances as men although hurdles and steeplechase barriers are lower and the weights of the shot, discus, javelin and hammer are less.

Running Events

The following are running events conducted on a 400 m track.

Sprints: The Sprints are events up to and including the 400 meters. Common lengths include:

  • 60 meters (indoors only)
  • 100 meters
  • 200 meters
  • 300 meters
  • 400 meters (quarter mile)

Middle Distance Events: events from 600 meters to the mile. Common lengths include:

  • 600 meters (indoors only)
  • 800 meters (half mile)
  • 1000 meters (indoors only)
  • 1500 meters (metric mile)
  • 1600 meters (High School mile)

Long Distance Events: events over, and including, the 3000 meters (3K). Common lengths include:

  • 3000 meters
  • 3200 meters (High School 2 mile)
  • 5000 meters (5K, or approximately 3.1 miles) - most often run only at the collegiate and elite level
  • 10,000 meters (10K, or approximately 6.2 miles) - most often run only at the collegiate and elite level

In the United States, high school athletes in most states normally run the 800m, 1600 m, and 3200 m. In a few states high school athletes run the 1500 m and 3000 m or mile and 2 mile instead of the 1600 m and 3200m. Some people also consider the two mile distances to be middle distance events.

Hurdles: events that require the runner to jump over evenly spaced barriers during the race. Common lengths include

  • 60m meter hurdles (indoors only)
  • 100 meter hurdles (women)
  • 110 meter hurdles (men)
  • 300 meter intermediate hurdles (the usual intermediate hurdle length in middle and high school competitions)
  • 400 meter intermediate hurdles (the usual intermediate hurdle length in collegiate and elite competitions)
  • Steeplechase (usually 3000 meters and taking the place of the two mile distance in some competitions; one barrier per lap includes a water pit)

Relays: races in which four athletes participate as a team, passing a metal baton in between. Common lengths include:

  • 4 x 100 meter relay (400 meter relay)
  • 4 x 200 m relay (800 meter relay)
  • 4 x 400 meter relay (mile relay)
  • 4 x 800 meter relay (2 mile relay)

Some events, such as medley relays, are rarely run except at large relay carnivals. Typical medley relays include:

  • Sprint Medley Relay (SMR): the four legs are 400 meters, two 200 meter legs, 800 meters; or alternately 200 meters, two 100 meter legs, 400 meters
  • Distance Medley Relay (DMR): the four legs are 1200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 1600 meters

Most American high schools run the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800, where college meets usually only include the 4x100 and 4x400. In both instances, the 4x400 is the last event at the meet.

Road Races: conducted on open roads, but often finishing on the track. Common lengths are:

  • 5000 meters (5K)
  • 10,000 meters (10K)
  • Half marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Marathon (26.2 miles)
  • Other less common lengths include 15K, 10 miles, 20K, and 20 miles.

The marathon is the only common road-racing distance run in major international athletics championships, such as the Olympics.

Race Walking: usually conducted on open roads, but is also a typical event in high school meets. Common lengths are 10, 20 and 50 kilometers.

Field Events

Throwing Events:

  • Discus (usually only at outdoor meets)
  • Hammer Throw
  • Javelin
  • Shot Put

The "hammer" used for the hammer throw is different, whether the event is indoors (often a large ball, resembling a medicine ball, with a handle attached) or outdoors (basically a shot with a handle attached)

Jumping Events:

  • High Jump
  • Pole Vault
  • Long Jump
  • Triple Jump

The following events also take place, but are uncommon:

  • Standing high jump
  • Standing long jump
  • Standing triple jump

Multiple Event Competitions

Multiple event competitions include events from both the track (running) and field events.

Pentathlon: the Pentathlon includes the following five events:

  • High Hurdles (110 meters for men, 100 meters for women)
  • Shot Put
  • High Jump
  • Long Jump
  • 800 or 1500 meters

Heptathlon: the Heptathlon includes the following seven events:

Outdoors (usually only women):

  • 100 meter high hurdles
  • 200 meters
  • 800 meters
  • High Jump
  • Long Jump
  • Javelin Throw
  • Shot Put

Indoors (usually only men):

  • 60 meters
  • 60 meter hurdles
  • 1000 meters
  • Long Jump
  • High Jump
  • Pole Vault
  • Shot Put

Decathlon: the Decathlon includes the following ten events:

  • 100 meters
  • 110 meter high hurdles
  • 1500 meters
  • 400 meters
  • Long Jump
  • High Jump
  • Pole Vault
  • Shot Put
  • Discus
  • Javelin

See also

The Association of Track and Field Statisticians (ATFS) was founded in 1950. ... Athletics Weekly Athletics Weekly is a magazine devoted to athletics published in the UK. Started in 1945, it has just reached its 60th anniversary. ... Track & Field News, the magazine, was founded in 1948 by brothers Bert Nelson & Cordner Nelson. ... Masters athletics is a class of Track and field competition featuring five-year age groups beginning at age 35. ... This is the complete list of mens Olympic medalists in athletics from 1896 to 2004. ... This article is becoming very long. ... Asafa Powell of Jamaica. ... // 1 All UK national records and bests Categories: | | ... Athletics, European records, men, outdoor Categories: | ... Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... A tracksuit is an article of clothing consisting of two parts- trousers and a jacket. ...

External links

  • International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – official site
  • World Record progression in athletics
  • World Masters Athletics - official site
  • Masters T&F World Rankings
  • Athletics all-time performances
  • Track and Field Results Almanac
  • TrackShark.com – College track & field coverage

Video Interviews

  • Video Interviews with famous track Personalities

Sprints are short running races in athletics. ... This article is about the sprint event. ... This article is about the 100-metre race. ... A 200 metre race is a sprint running event. ... 400 m is a common track running event. ... Hurdling In track and field athletics there are sprint hurdle races and long hurdle races. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Womens 400 m Hurdles The 400 m Hurdles are an Olympic athletics (track and field) discipline. ... Middle distance track events are track races longer than sprints up to (and arguably including) 5000 meters. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The 1,500 metres is a premier middle distance track event. ... A track event where you run 7 and 1/2 times around a 400m track. ... The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics (track and field), which derives its name from the steeplechase in horse racing. ... For long track speedskating, see Speed skating. ... 5000 meters, a popular running distance also known as a 5 km, colloquially five-K (equal to 3. ... ... In athletics, a half marathon is a race over half the distance of a marathon, i. ... For other senses of this word, see Marathon (disambiguation). ... An ultramarathon is any running event longer than the traditional marathon length of 42. ... Multiday races are ultramarathon running events which are typically either segmented into daily events of a specified distance or time, or staged so that runners can run as far as they want, at their own discretion, over a set course or over a set number of days. ... The Minnesota State Highschool Cross Country Meet A cross country race in Seaside, Oregon. ... During a relay race, members of a team take turns swimming or running (usually with a baton) parts of a circuit or performing a certain action. ... The 4 × 100 metres relay or sprint relay is an athletics track event run in lanes over one lap of the track with four runners completing 100 meters each. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Discus redirects here. ... A hammer thrower competing in a Highland games event in Dornoch, Scotland The modern or Olympic hammer throw is an athletic throwing event where the object is to throw a heavy metal ball attached to a wire and handle. ... An athlete throwing the javelin. ... Shot put The shot put is an athletics (track and field) event involving putting (throwing in a pushing motion) a heavy metal ball (called the shot) as far as possible. ... This article is about the athletic event. ... Long jumper at the GE Money Grand Prix in Helsinki, July 2005. ... Pole vaulting is an athletic event where a person uses a long, flexible pole (usually made either of fiberglass or carbon fiber) as an aid to leap over a bar. ... This article is about the athletics event. ... The womens pentathlon was contested in the Olympics from 1964 until 1980, and it was replaced in the 1984 games with the heptathlon. ... A heptathlon is a sportive contest made up of seven events (from the Greek hepta (seven) and athlon (contest)). More specifically, the term heptathlon refers to an athletics event consisting of seven events. ... Decathlon is an athletic event combining 10 track and field events. ... This article is about a type of athletic competition. ... Duathlon is an athletic event (not to be confused with biathlon) that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg in a format bearing some resemblance to triathlons. ... The Standing high jump is an athletic event that was featured in the Olympics from 1900 to 1912. ... The standing long jump is an athletic event that was featured in the Olympics from 1900 to 1912. ... The standing triple jump is an athletic sport. ... Mens 20 km walk during the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. ... Wheelchair racingis the racing of wheelcahirs, typically by athletes who are unable to run. ...


  1. ^ Oxford Companion to Sports and Games, ed. J.Arlott, O.U.P. (1975)

Leslie Thomas John Arlott (February 25, 1914 - December 14, 1991) (known as John Arlott) was an English sports commentator for Test Match Special. ...

  Results from FactBites:
USA Track & Field Foundation - Home (397 words)
The USA Track and Field Foundation provides a means to attract and guide funds to new and innovative track and field programs, with an emphasis on providing opportunities for youth athletes, emerging athletes and anti-doping education.
Track and Field/Cross Country is the number one junior high and high school participation sport in the USA.
Your generous support of the USA Track and Field Foundation will have a direct impact upon the lives of Youth Track and Field and Emerging Elite Athletes.  Donations may be directed toward a specific program.
Athletics (track and field) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1593 words)
Athletics, also known as track and field or track and field athletics, is a collection of sports events that involve running, throwing and jumping.
Athletics was the original event at the first Olympics back in 776 BC where the only event held was the stadium-length foot race or "stade".
The track consists of 6-10 lanes and, for the bigger tracks, a steeplechase lane with a water pit.
  More results at FactBites »



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