Olympic Sports >> Track and Field

Track and Field

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THE 47 EVENTS

Men (15 track races, 8 field events and the decathlon)

  • 10 flat races: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m, marathon, 4x100m and 4x400m relays
  • 2 walking races: 20km and 50km
  • 3 hurdles races: 110m and 400m hurdles and 3000m steeplechase
  • 4 jumping events: high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump
  • 4 throwing events: shot putt, discus, hammer and javelin
  • 1 combined event: decathlon (10 disciplines)

Women (14 track races, 8 field events and the heptathlon)

  • 10 flat races: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m, marathon, 4x100m and 4x400m relays
  • 1 walking race: 20km
  • 3 hurdles races: 100m, 400m hurdles and 3000m steeplechase
  • 4 jumping events: high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump
  • 4 throwing events: shot putt, discus, hammer and javelin
  • 1 combined event: heptathlon (7 disciplines)

THE FORMAT

  • The races: A series of qualifying rounds determine the 8 finalists for the lane races. Qualifying rounds determine 12 or 20 finalists for the middle distance and long distance races. One race only for the marathon and walking races.
  • The field events: Qualifying rounds determine 12 competitors for the final, of which the 8 best athletes after 3 attempts have an extra 3 attempts in the throwing events the triple and long-jump. And in the Pole vault and high-jump the last-8 competitors can continue to raise the bar so long as someone clears it

MILESTONES

3500 BC

Egyptian wall drawings depict athletics scenes.

776 BC

The first Olympic Games take place with walking races, 24 stadia races, high jump, javelin and discus throwing.

490 BC

Legend has it that the Greek soldier Philippides ran between Marathon and Athens, a distance of about 40km, to announce the victory of the Greek troops against the Persians. He died of exhaustion and the marathon was born in his memory.

1896

Baron Pierre de Coubertin creates the Olympic Games of the modern era with athletics the principal sport.

1964

Automatic timing to 1/10th of a second.

1968

America's Jim Hines becomes the first man to run 100m in less than 10 seconds. Dick Fosbury revolutionises the high jump at the Mexico Games with the introduction of the "Fosbury flop" (performing the high jump with his back to the bar). Synthetic athletics tracks make their appearance in international competitions.

1983

The first edition of the world athletics championships is held in Helsinki.

1988

Canada's Ben Johnson fails a drugs test after winning the 100m at the Seoul Olympics.

STARS

Paavo Nurmi (Finland)

The king of long distance running. 12 medals, including 9 golds (Olympic record) in middle distance, long distance, steeple chase and cross-country at Games in 1920, 1924, 1928.

Jesse Owens (United States)

The hero of Berlin. 4 gold medals in sprinting and long jump at the 1936 Games as the African American stole the show under the nose of German dictator Adolph Hitler.

Carl Lewis (United States)

King Carl. 10 medals including 9 gold (Olympic record), in sprinting and long jump, at Games in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, plus 8 world titles and 13 world records.


Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.