Olympic Sports >> Athletics

Athletics

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THE 47 EVENTS

Men (15 track races, 8 field events and 1 combined event)

  • 10 flat races: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m, marathon, 4x100m and 4x400m relays
  • 2 walking races: 20km and 50km
  • 3 hurdles races: 110m and 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase
  • 4 jumping events: high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump
  • 4 throwing events: shot put, discus, hammer and javelin
  • 1 combined event: decathlon (10 disciplines)

Women (14 track races, 8 field events and 1 combined event)

  • 10 flat races: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m, marathon, 4x100m and 4x400m relays
  • 1 walking race: 20km
  • 3 hurdles races: 100m and 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase
  • 4 jumping events: high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump
  • 4 throwing events: shot put, discus, hammer and javelin
  • 1 combined event: heptathlon (7 disciplines)

THE FORMAT

  • Track events: 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.
  • Field events: Qualifying rounds determine the 12 competitors for the final. The 8 best athletes after 3 attempts have 3 extra attempts in throwing events, triple jump and long jump. In pole vault and high jump, competitors are progressively eliminated as the height of the bar is raised.

MILESTONES

3500 BC

Egyptian wall drawings depict athletics scenes.

776 BC - 393 AD

The ancient Olympic Games feature foot races, jumping events and throwing events.

490 BC

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

1896

Baron Pierre de Coubertin creates the modern Olympic Games, with athletics as the principal sport.

1964

Automatic timing to the nearest 1/10th of a second.

1968

American Jim Hines becomes the first man to run 100m in under 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

Canadian 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 a record 9 golds, in middle distance, long distance, steeplechase and cross-country events, at the 1920, 1924 and 1928 Games.

Jesse Owens (United States)

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

Carl Lewis (United States)

King Carl. 10 medals including 9 golds (an Olympic record) in sprinting and long jump between 1984 and 1996. He also boasted 8 world titles and 13 world records.


Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.



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