athletics (sport)
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Athletics is a group of
sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to specta ...
ing events that involves competitive
running Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions). This is ...
,
jumping Jumping or leaping is a form of locomotion or movement in which an organism or non-living (e.g., robotics, robotic) mechanical system propels itself through the air along a ballistic trajectory. Jumping can be distinguished from running, gallo ...
,
throwing Throwing is an action which consists in acceleration, accelerating a projectile and then releasing it so that it follows a ballistics, ballistic trajectory, usually with the aim of impact (mechanics), impacting a remote target. This action is be ...
, and
walking Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gaits of terrestrial locomotion among legged animals. Walking is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults ov ...
. The most common types of athletics competitions are
track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes place, a running track and a grass field for the throwing and some of ...
,
road running Road running is the sport of running on a measured course over an established road. This differs from track and field on a regular track and cross country running over natural terrain. These events are usually classified as long-distance ru ...
,
cross country running Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or grass. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and soil, earth, pass through woodlands and ope ...
, and
racewalking Racewalking, or race walking, is a long-distance discipline within the sport of athletics. Although a foot race, it is different from running in that one foot must appear to be in contact with the ground at all times. Referee, Race judges careful ...
. The results of
racing In sport, racing is a competition of speed, in which competitors try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time. Typically this involves :wikt:traverse, traversing some distance, but it can be any other task involving speed to reach ...
events are decided by finishing position (or time, where measured), while the jumps and throws are won by the
athlete An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a person who competes in one or more sports that involve physical strength, speed, or endurance. Athletes may be professional sports, professionals or amateur sports, amateurs. Most professional a ...
that achieves the highest or furthest measurement from a series of attempts. The simplicity of the competitions, and the lack of a need for expensive equipment, makes athletics one of the most common types of sports in the world. Athletics is mostly an individual sport, with the exception of
relay races A relay race is a racing competition where members of a team take turns completing parts of Race track, racecourse or performing a certain action. Relay races take the form of professional races and amateur games. Relay races are common in runni ...
and competitions which combine athletes' performances for a team score, such as cross country. Organized athletics are traced back to the
Ancient Olympic Games The ancient Olympic Games (Ὀλυμπιακοὶ ἀγῶνες; la, Olympia, neuter plural: "the Olympics") were a series of Athletics (sport), athletic competitions among representatives of polis, city-states and were one of the Panhellenic ...
from 776 BC. The rules and format of the modern events in athletics were defined in Western Europe and North America in the 19th and early 20th century, and were then spread to other parts of the world. Most modern top level meetings are held under the auspices of
World Athletics World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
, the global governing body for the sport of athletics, or its member continental and national federations. The athletics meeting forms the backbone of the
Summer Olympics The Summer Olympic Games (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques d'été), also known as the Games of the Olympiad, and often referred to as the Summer Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event normally held once every four years. The inau ...
. The foremost international athletics meeting is the
World Athletics Championships The World Athletics Championships (until 2019 known as the World Championships in Athletics) are a biennial Athletics (sport), athletics competition organized by World Athletics (formerly IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federations ...
, which incorporates track and field, marathon running and race walking. Other top level competitions in athletics include the World Athletics Cross Country Championships and the World Half Marathon Championships. Athletes with a
physical disability A physical disability is a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Other physical disability, disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living skills, daily living, such as respiratory ...
compete at the Summer Paralympics and the
World Para Athletics Championships The World Para Athletics Championships, known as the IPC Athletics World Championships prior to 2017, are a biennial Paralympic athletics event organized by World Para Athletics, a subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It ...
. The word athletics is derived from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
(, "combatant in public games") from (, "prize") or (, "competition"). Initially, the term described athletic contests in general – i.e. sporting competition based primarily on human physical feats. In the 19th century, the term athletics acquired a more narrow definition in Europe and came to describe sports involving competitive running, walking, jumping and throwing. This definition continues to be prominent in the United Kingdom and the former
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
. Related words in Germanic and
Romance languages The Romance languages, sometimes referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin. They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European languages, I ...
also have a similar meaning. In much of North America, ''athletics'' is synonymous with sports in general, maintaining the historical usage of the term. The word "athletics" is rarely used to refer to the sport of athletics in this region. ''Track and field'' is preferred, and is used in the United States and Canada to refer to athletics events, including race-walking and marathon running (although cross country running is typically considered a separate sport).


History


Ancient

Athletic contests in running, walking, jumping and throwing are among the oldest of all sports and their roots are
prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominin The Hominini form a Tribe (biology), taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini i ...
. Athletics events were depicted in the
Ancient Egyptian #REDIRECT Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egypti ...
tombs in
Saqqara Saqqara ( ar, سقارة, ), also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English , is an Egyptian village in Giza Governorate, that contains ancient burial grounds of Egyptian royalty, serving as the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis, ...
, with illustrations of
running Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions). This is ...
at the Heb Sed festival and
high jump The high jump is a track and field event in which competitors must jump unaided over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without dislodging it. In its modern, most-practiced format, a bar is placed between two standards with a crash mat f ...
ing appearing in tombs from as early as of 2250 BC. The Tailteann Games were an ancient Celtic festival in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
, founded circa 1800 BC, and the thirty-day meeting included
running Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions). This is ...
and stone-throwing among its sporting events. The original and only event at the first Olympics in 776 BC was a stadium-length
running event Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions). This is ...
known as the '' stadion''. This later expanded to include throwing and jumping events within the ancient pentathlon. Athletics competitions also took place at other
Panhellenic Games Panhellenic Games is the collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece. The four Games were: Description The Olympiad was one of the ways the Greeks measured time. The Olympic Games were used as a starting point, year ...
, which were founded later around 500 BC.


Modern era

The
Cotswold Olympic Games The Cotswold Olimpick Games is an annual public celebration of games and sports now held on the Friday after Spring Bank Holiday A bank holiday is a national public holiday in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the Crown Dependenci ...
, a sports festival which emerged in 17th century
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
, featured athletics in the form of
sledgehammer A sledgehammer is a tool with a large, flat, often metal head, attached to a long handle. The long handle combined with a heavy head allows the sledgehammer to gather momentum during a swing and apply a large impulse (physics), force compared to ...
throwing contests. Annually, from 1796 to 1798, L'Olympiade de la République was held in
revolutionary France The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in coup of 18 Brumaire, November 1799. Many of its ...
, and is an early forerunner to the modern Olympic Games. The premier event of this competition was a running event, but various ancient Greek disciplines were also on display. The 1796 Olympiade marked the introduction of the
metric system The metric system is a system of measurement that succeeded the Decimal, decimalised system based on the metre that had been introduced in French Revolution, France in the 1790s. The historical development of these systems culminated in the d ...
into the sport. Athletics competitions were held about 1812 at the
Royal Military College, Sandhurst The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares l ...
, and in 1840 in
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury ( , also ) is a market town, civil parish, and the county town of Shropshire, England, on the River Severn, north-west of London; at the 2021 United Kingdom census, 2021 census, it had a population of 76,782. The town's name can b ...
,
Shropshire Shropshire (; alternatively Salop; abbreviated in print only as Shrops; demonym Salopian ) is a landlocked historic Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands region of England. It is bordered by Wales to the we ...
at the Royal
Shrewsbury School Shrewsbury School is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school (English Independent school (United Kingdom), independent boarding school for pupils aged 13 –18) in Shrewsbury. Founded in 1552 by Edward VI by Royal Charter, it was orig ...
Hunt. The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich held an organised competition in 1849, and a regular series of closed meetings open only to undergraduates, was held by
Exeter College, Oxford Exeter College (in full: The Rector and Scholars of Exeter College in the University of Oxford) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university ...
, from 1850. The annual Wenlock Olympian Games, first held in 1850 in Wenlock, England, incorporated athletics events into its sports programme. The first modern-style indoor athletics meetings were recorded shortly after in the 1860s, including a meet at Ashburnham Hall in London which featured four running events and a triple jump competition. The
Amateur Athletic Association The Amateur Athletic Association of England or AAA (pronounced 'three As') is the oldest national governing body for athletics (sport), athletics in the world, having been established on 24 April 1880. Historically it effectively oversaw athletic ...
(AAA) was established in England in 1880 as the first national body for the sport of athletics and began holding its own annual athletics competition – the AAA Championships. The
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
also began holding an annual national competition – the
USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships The USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships is an annual track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the spor ...
– first held in 1876 by the New York Athletic Club.The United States' National Championships In Track & Field Athletics: Introduction
. ''
Track and Field News ''Track & Field News'' is an American monthly sports magazine A sports magazine is usually a weekly, biweekly or monthly, magazine featuring articles or segments on sports. Some may be published a specific number of times per year. A wide ran ...
''. Retrieved on 2009-09-19.
Athletics became codified and standardized via the English AAA and other general sports organisations in the late 19th century, such as the
Amateur Athletic Union The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is an amateur sports organization based in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It has ...
(founded in the US in 1888) and the Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques (founded in France in 1889). An athletics competition was included in the first modern
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques) are the leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a var ...
in 1896 and it has been as one of the foremost competitions at the quadrennial
multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among organized teams of athletes from (mostly) Nation state, nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport ev ...
ever since. Originally for men only, the 1928 Olympics saw the introduction of women's events in the athletics programme. Athletics is part of the
Paralympic Games The Paralympic Games or Paralympics, also known as the ''Games of the Paralympiad'', is a periodic series of international multisport events involving athletes with a range of physical disability, disabilities, including impaired muscle power ...
since the inaugural Games in
1960 It is also known as the "Year of Africa" because of major events—particularly the independence of seventeen African nations—that focused global attention on the continent and intensified feelings of Pan-Africanism. Events January * Jan ...
. Athletics has a very high-profile during major championships, especially the Olympics, but otherwise is less popular. An international governing body, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), was founded in 1912. It enforced amateur sport status on competitions during much of the 20th century. Professional competition continued at a low level, becoming increasingly more common as the century progressed. The International Track Association briefly formed a professional track and field circuit in the United States in the 1970s. Athletes used their increasing status to push for remuneration and the IAAF responded with the IAAF Golden Events series and the establishment an outdoor World Championships in 1983, including track and field, racewalking and a marathon event. In modern times, athletes can receive money for racing, putting an end to the so-called "
amateurism An amateur () is generally considered a person who pursues an avocation independent from their source of income. Amateurs and their pursuits are also described as popular, informal, autodidacticism, self-taught, user-generated, do it yourself, DI ...
" that existed before. The global body updated the name to the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2001, moving away from its amateur origins, before taking on its current name
World Athletics World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
in 2019. The Comité International Sports des Sourds had been formed by 1922, to govern international deaf sports, including athletics.Para- Athletics – History
, Athletics Canada
The first organized international competitions for athletes with a
physical disability A physical disability is a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Other physical disability, disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living skills, daily living, such as respiratory ...
(not deaf) began in 1952, when the first international
Stoke Mandeville Games Stoke is a common place name in the United Kingdom. Stoke may refer to: Places United Kingdom The largest city called Stoke is Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. See below. Berkshire * Stoke Row, Berkshire Bristol * Stoke Bishop * Stok ...
were organized for World War II veterans.About the Sport
, IPC Athletics
This only included athletes in a
wheelchair A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, used when walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, problems related to old age, or disability. These can include spinal cord injuries ( paraplegia, hemiplegia, and quadriplegia), cerebral ...
. This inspired the first
Paralympic Games The Paralympic Games or Paralympics, also known as the ''Games of the Paralympiad'', is a periodic series of international multisport events involving athletes with a range of physical disability, disabilities, including impaired muscle power ...
, held in 1960. Competitions would over time be expanded to include mainly athletes with
amputation Amputation is the removal of a Limb (anatomy), limb by Physical trauma, trauma, medical illness, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as cancer, malignancy or gangrene. In ...
,
cerebral palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time, but include poor coordination, spasticity, stiff muscles, Paresis, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be p ...
and
visual impairment Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment, is a medical definition primarily measured based on an individual's better eye visual acuity; in the absence of treatment such as correctable eyewear, assistive devices, and medical treatment ...
, in addition to wheelchair events.


Events

World Athletics, the sport's governing body, defines athletics in six disciplines:
track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes place, a running track and a grass field for the throwing and some of ...
,
road running Road running is the sport of running on a measured course over an established road. This differs from track and field on a regular track and cross country running over natural terrain. These events are usually classified as long-distance ru ...
, race walking,
cross country running Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or grass. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and soil, earth, pass through woodlands and ope ...
,
mountain running Mountain running is a sports discipline which takes place mainly off-road Off-roading is the activity of driving or riding in a vehicle on unpaved surfaces such as sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, snow, rocks, and other natural terrain. Types ...
, and
trail running Trail running is a sport-activity which combines running, and, where there are steep gradients, hiking, that is run "on any unpaved surface". It is similar to both mountain running, mountain and fell running (also known as hill running). Mount ...
. Mountain running was added in 2003 and trail running was added in 2015. All forms of athletics are
individual sports An individual sport is a sport in which participants compete as individuals. However, team competitions in individual sports also occur, such as the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup. Overview Examples *Sport of athletics, Athletics *Badminton *Cu ...
with the exception of
relay race A relay race is a racing competition where members of a team take turns completing parts of Race track, racecourse or performing a certain action. Relay races take the form of professional races and amateur games. Relay races are common in runni ...
s. However, athletes' performances are often tallied together by country at international championships, and, in the case of cross country and road races, finishing positions or times of the top athletes from a team may be combined to declare a team victor. Several further forms of competitive running exist outside of the governance of World Athletics. The
International Skyrunning Federation The International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) is the world governing body for skyrunning. The ISF today counts 41 Member nations. The Federation of Sports at Altitude (FSA) used to be the organization which governed and managed the sports of skyru ...
(ISF) governs high-altitude mountain running, defined as
skyrunning Skyrunning is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, ...
, and is affiliated with the
International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, commonly known by its French language, French name Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA, lit. ''International Union of List of alpine clubs, Alpine Clubs''), was foun ...
rather than World Athletics. Competitive stair climbing events, usually hosted in
skyscraper A skyscraper is a tall continuously habitable building having multiple floors. Modern sources currently define skyscrapers as being at least or in height, though there is no universally accepted definition. Skyscrapers are very tall Tower bl ...
s, has two common names: vertical running (as described by the ISF) and tower running (as described by the Towerrunning World Association).
Snowshoe running Snowshoe running, or snowshoeing, is a winter sport Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physic ...
is a
winter sport Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment ...
governed by the World Snowshoe Federation, which is similarly to cross country running but has athletes wearing
snowshoe Snowshoes are specialized outdoor gear for walking over snow. Their large footprint spreads the user's weight out and allows them to travel largely on top of rather than through snow. Adjustable bindings attach them to appropriate winter footwe ...
s to race over deep snow on an obstacle-free course. The
International Association of Ultrarunners The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) is the world governing body of ultra running, race events longer than the marathon (sport), marathon distance of 42.2 km. It regulates and sanctions the World Championships for various ultr ...
organises ultra running as an affiliate of World Athletics, but these long-distance forms of competition fit within World Athletics disciplines, albeit with additional distance.


Track and field

Track and field competitions emerged in the late 19th century and were typically contested between athletes who were representing rival
educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. They provide a large variety of learning environments an ...
s,
military organisation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military capability as a military policy, national defense policy may require. In some countries paramilitary ...
s and
sports club A sports club or sporting club, sometimes an athletics club or sports society or sports association, is a group of people formed for the purpose of playing sports. Sports clubs range from organisations whose members play together, unpaid, and ...
s.History – Introduction
.
IAAF World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
. Retrieved on 25 March 2010.
Participating athletes may compete in one or more events, according to their specialities. Men and women compete separately. Track and field comes in both indoor and outdoor formats, with most indoor competitions occurring in
winter Winter is the coldest season of the year in Polar regions of Earth, polar and temperate climates. It occurs after autumn and before spring (season), spring. The tilt of Axial tilt#Earth, Earth's axis causes seasons; winter occurs when a Hemi ...
, while outdoor events are mostly held in
summer Summer is the Heat, hottest of the four temperate seasons, occurring after Spring (season), spring and before autumn. At or centred on the summer solstice, the earliest sunrise and latest sunset occurs, daylight hours are longest and dark h ...
. The sport is defined by the venue in which the competitions are held – the track and field stadium. A variety of
running Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions). This is ...
events are held on the track which fall into three broad distance categories: sprints, middle-distance, and
long-distance track event Long-distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over distances of at least . Physiologically, it is largely Aerobic exercise, aerobic in nature and requires endurance, stamina as well as mental strength. Within e ...
s. Relay races feature teams comprising four runners each, who must pass a baton to their teammate after a specified distance with the aim of being the first team to finish.
Hurdling Hurdling is the act of jumping over an obstacle at a high speed or in a sprint. In the early 19th century, hurdlers ran at and jumped over each hurdle (sometimes known as 'burgles'), landing on both feet and checking their forward motion. Today, ...
events and the steeplechase are a variation upon the flat running theme in that athletes must clear obstacles on the track during the race. The field events come in two types – jumping and throwing competitions. In throwing events, athletes are measured by how far they hurl an implement, with the common events being the
shot put The shot put is a track and field event involving "putting" (throwing) a heavy spherical Ball (sports), ball—the ''shot''—as far as possible. The shot put competition for men has been a part of the Olympic Games, modern Olympics since their r ...
, discus,
javelin A javelin is a light spear designed primarily to be thrown, historically as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the sling (weapon), sling, bow and arrow, bow, and crossbow, whi ...
, and
hammer throw The hammer throw is one of the four throwing events in regular track and field competitions, along with the discus throw, shot put and Javelin throw, javelin. The "hammer" used in this sport is not like any of the tools also called by that na ...
. There are four common jumping events: the
long jump The long jump is a track and field event in which athletes combine speed, strength and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a takeoff point. Along with the triple jump, the two events that measure jumping for distance as a gr ...
and
triple jump The triple jump, sometimes referred to as the hop, step and jump or the hop, skip and jump, is a track and field event, similar to the long jump. As a group, the two events are referred to as the "horizontal jumps". The competitor runs down th ...
are contests measuring the horizontal distance an athlete can jump, while the
high jump The high jump is a track and field event in which competitors must jump unaided over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without dislodging it. In its modern, most-practiced format, a bar is placed between two standards with a crash mat f ...
and
pole vault Pole vaulting, also known as pole jumping, is a track and field event in which an athlete uses a long and flexible pole, usually made from fiberglass or carbon fiber, as an aid to jump over a #bar, bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to t ...
are decided on the height achieved. Combined events, which include the
decathlon The decathlon is a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from whe ...
(typically competed by men) and
heptathlon A heptathlon is a track and field combined events contest made up of seven events. The name derives from the Greek επτά (hepta, meaning "seven") and ἄθλος (áthlos, or ἄθλον, áthlon, meaning "competition"). A competitor in a hept ...
(typically competed by women), are competitions where athletes compete in a number of different track and field events, with each performance going toward a final points tally. The most prestigious track and field contests occur within athletics championships and athletics programmes at multi-sport events. The Olympic athletics competition and
World Championships in Athletics The World Athletics Championships (until 2019 known as the World Championships in Athletics) are a biennial athletics competition organized by World Athletics World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation ...
, and the Paralympic athletics competition and
World Para Athletics Championships The World Para Athletics Championships, known as the IPC Athletics World Championships prior to 2017, are a biennial Paralympic athletics event organized by World Para Athletics, a subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It ...
, are the highest and most prestigious levels of competition in track and field. Track and field events have become the most prominent part of major athletics championships and many famous athletes within the sport of athletics come from this discipline. Discrete track and field competitions are found at national championships-level and also at annual, invitational track and field meets. Meetings range from elite competitions – such as those in the
IAAF Diamond League The Diamond League is an annual series of elite track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes pl ...
series – to basic all comers track meets, inter-sports club meetings and schools events, which form the grassroots of track and field.


Road running

Road running competitions are running events (predominantly long distance) which are mainly conducted on courses of paved or tarmac
road A road is a linear way for the conveyance of traffic that mostly has an road surface, improved surface for use by vehicles (motorized and non-motorized) and pedestrians. Unlike streets, the main function of roads is transportation. There are ro ...
s, although major events often finish on the track of a main
stadium A stadium (plural, : stadiums or stadia) is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to ...
. In addition to being a common recreational sport, the elite level of the sport – particularly marathon races – are one of the most popular aspects of athletics. Road racing events can be of virtually any distance, but the most common and well known are the
marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a distance of , usually run as a road running, road race, but the distance can be covered on trail routes. The marathon can be completed by running or with a run/walk strategy. There are also w ...
,
half marathon A half marathon is a road running event of —half the distance of a marathon. It is common for a half marathon event to be held concurrently with a marathon or a 5K race, using almost the same course with a late start, an early finish or shortcut ...
, 10 km and 5 km. The marathon is the only road running event featured at the
IAAF World Championships in Athletics The World Athletics Championships (until 2019 known as the World Championships in Athletics) are a biennial Athletics (sport), athletics competition organized by World Athletics (formerly IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federations ...
and the
Summer Olympics The Summer Olympic Games (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques d'été), also known as the Games of the Olympiad, and often referred to as the Summer Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event normally held once every four years. The inau ...
, although there is also an annual IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. The marathon is also the only road running event featured at the
World Para Athletics Championships The World Para Athletics Championships, known as the IPC Athletics World Championships prior to 2017, are a biennial Paralympic athletics event organized by World Para Athletics, a subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It ...
and the Summer Paralympics. The
World Marathon Majors The World Marathon Majors (WMM) (known for sponsorship reasons as the Abbott World Marathon Majors) is a championship-style competition for marathon runners that started in 2006. A points-based competition founded on six major marathon races recog ...
series includes the six most prestigious marathon competitions at the elite level – the
Berlin Berlin ( , ) is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3.7 million inhabitants make it the European Union's most populous city, according to population within city limits. One of Germany's sixteen constituen ...
,
Boston Boston (), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, state capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the cultural and financ ...
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive Map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = List of sovereign states, Count ...
,
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
,
New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the L ...
and Tokyo Marathons. The sport of road running finds its roots in the activities of
footmen A footman is a male domestic worker employed mainly to wait at table or attend a coach or carriage. Etymology Originally in the 14th century a footman denoted a soldier or any pedestrian, later it indicated a foot servant. A running footman deli ...
: male servants who ran alongside the carriages of
aristocrats Aristocracy (, ) is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocracy (class), aristocrats. The term derives from the el, αριστοκρατία (), meaning 'rule of the best'. At t ...
around the 18th century, and who also ran errands over distances for their masters. Foot racing competitions evolved from wagers between aristocrats, who pitted their footman against that of another aristocrat in order to determine a winner. The sport became professionalised as footmen were hired specifically on their athletic ability and began to devote their lives to training for the gambling events. The
amateur sports Amateur sports are sports in which participants engage largely or entirely without remuneration. The distinction is made between amateur sporting participants and professional sports, professional sporting participants, who are paid for the time ...
movement in the late 19th century marginalised competitions based on the professional, gambling model. The
1896 Summer Olympics The 1896 Summer Olympics ( el, Θερινοί Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 1896, Therinoí Olympiakoí Agónes 1896), officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad ( el, Αγώνες της 1ης Ολυμπιάδας, Agónes tis 1is Ol ...
saw the birth of the modern marathon and the event led to the growth of road running competitions through annual events such as the Boston Marathon (first held in 1897) and the
Lake Biwa Marathon The was a marathon race held in Otsu, Shiga, Japan. It was one of the prominent marathons in Japan. It was a male only competition and had IAAF Gold Label status.Nakamura, Ken (2010-03-07)Tsegay takes Lake Biwa crown IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-03-08 ...
and Fukuoka Marathons, which were established in the 1940s. The 1970s running boom in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
made road running a common
pastime A hobby is considered to be a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time. Hobbies include collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing Sport, sports, or pursu ...
and also increased its popularity at the elite level. Ekiden contests – which originated in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
and remain very popular there – are a relay race variation on the marathon, being in contrast to the typically individual sport of road running.


Cross country running

Cross country running is the most naturalistic of the sports in athletics as competitions take place on open-air courses over surfaces such as
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and species culti ...
,
woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum'' woods), a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade (see ...
trails, and
earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. While large list of largest lakes and seas in the Solar System, volumes of water can be found throughout the Solar System, only water distributi ...
. It is both an individual and
team sport A team sport includes any sport where individuals are organized into opposing sports team, teams which compete to win or cooperate to entertain their audience. Team members act together towards a shared objective. This can be done in a numb ...
, as runners are judged on an individual basis and a points scoring method is used for teams. Competitions are typically long distance races of or more which are usually held in autumn and winter. Cross country's most successful athletes often compete in long-distance track and road events as well. The Crick Run in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
in 1838 was the first recorded instance of an organised cross country competition. The sport gained popularity in British, then American schools in the 19th century and culminated in the creation of the first
International Cross Country Championships The International Cross Country Championships was an annual international competition in cross country running Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or ...
in 1903. The annual
IAAF World Cross Country Championships World Athletics Cross Country Championships is the most important competition in international cross country running. Formerly held annually and organised by World Athletics (formerly the IAAF), it was inaugurated in 1973, when it replaced the Int ...
was inaugurated in 1973 and this remains the highest level of competition for the sport. A number of continental cross country competitions are held, with championships taking place in
Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa Africa is ...
,
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
,
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
and
South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the souther ...
. The sport has retained its status at the scholastic level, particularly in the United Kingdom and United States. At the professional level, the foremost competitions come under the banner of the IAAF Cross Country Permit Meetings. While cross country competitions are no longer held at the Olympics, having featured in the athletics programme from 1912 to 1924, it has been present as one of the events within the
modern pentathlon The modern pentathlon is an Summer Olympics, Olympic sport consisting of fencing (sport), fencing (one-touch épée), freestyle swimming, show jumping, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting, and cross country running. The event is inspired by t ...
competition since the
1912 Summer Olympics The 1912 Summer Olympics ( sv, Olympiska sommarspelen 1912), officially known as the Games of the V Olympiad ( sv, Den V olympiadens spel) and commonly known as Stockholm 1912, were an international multi-sport event held in Stockholm, Sweden, bet ...
. One variation on traditional cross country is
mountain running Mountain running is a sports discipline which takes place mainly off-road Off-roading is the activity of driving or riding in a vehicle on unpaved surfaces such as sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, snow, rocks, and other natural terrain. Types ...
, which incorporates significant uphill and/or downhill sections as an additional challenge to the course.
Fell running Fell running, also sometimes known as hill running, is the sport of running and racing, off-road, over upland country where the gradient climbed is a significant component of the difficulty. The name arises from the origins of the English sport o ...
and
Orienteering Orienteering is a group of sports that require navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a s ...
are other competitive sports similar to cross country, although they feature an element of
navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the motion, movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another.Bowditch, 2003:799. The field of navigation includes four general categories: land navi ...
which is absent from the set courses of cross country.


Racewalking

Racewalking is a form of competitive
walking Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gaits of terrestrial locomotion among legged animals. Walking is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults ov ...
that usually takes place on open-air roads, although running tracks are also occasionally used. Racewalking is the only sport in athletics in which judges monitor athletes on their technique. Racewalkers must always have a foot in contact with the ground and their advancing leg must be straightened, not bent at the knee – failure to follow these rules results in disqualification from the race.Race Walking – Introduction
.
IAAF World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
. Retrieved on 2010-05-28.
Racewalking finds its roots in the sport of
pedestrianism Pedestrianism was a 19th-century form of competitive walking, often professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who works in a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education a ...
which emerged in the late 18th century in England. Spectators would gamble on the outcome of the walking competitions. The sport took on an endurance aspect and competitions were held over long distances or walkers would have to achieve a certain distance within a specified time frame, such as
Centurion A centurion (; la, centurio , . la, centuriones, label=none; grc-gre, κεντυρίων, kentyríōn, or ) was a position in the Roman army during classical antiquity, nominally the commander of a centuria, century (), a military unit of ar ...
contests of walking within 24 hours. During this period, racewalking was frequently held on athletics tracks for ease of measurement, and the
1908 Summer Olympics The 1908 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the IV Olympiad and also known as London 1908) were an International sport, international multi-sport event held in London, England, United Kingdom, from 27 April to 31 October 1908. Th ...
in
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
saw the introduction of the 3500-metre and 10-mile walks. Racewalking was briefly dropped from the Olympic programme in
1928 Events January * January – British bacteriologist Frederick Griffith reports the results of Griffith's experiment, indirectly proving the existence of DNA. * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in ...
, but the men's
50 kilometres race walk The 50 kilometre race walk was an Olympic athletics event that first appeared in 1932 and made its final Olympic appearance in 2021. The racewalking event is competed as a road race. Athletes must always keep in contact with the ground and ...
has been held at every Olympic Games but one since 1932. The men's 20 kilometres race walk was added to the Olympic athletics schedule in 1956 and the women's event was first held in 1992. The most common events in modern competition are over 10 km, 20 km and 50 km on roads, although women's 3 km and men's 5 km are held on indoor tracks. The highest level racewalking competitions occur at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics and at the Summer Olympics, although the sport also has its own separate major competition – the IAAF World Race Walking Cup – which has been held since 1961. The IAAF World Race Walking Challenge forms the primary seasonal competition – athletes earn points for their performances at ten selected racewalking competitions and the highest scoring walkers are entered into that year's IAAF Race Walking Challenge Final.


Categories

The significant variation in people's abilities in the sport of athletics has led to the creation of numerous competitive categories, in order that athletes are pitted against rivals of a similar kind or ability, and to include groups of people who would otherwise not be competitive in open-to-all events. The eligibility of athletes for a given category is occasionally a source of controversy among the sport's participants, officials and spectators, with disputes typically being rooted in deliberate
cheating Cheating generally describes various actions designed to subvert rules in order to obtain unfair advantages. This includes acts of bribery Bribery is the Offer and acceptance, offering, Gift, giving, Offer and acceptance, receiving, or Sol ...
in order to gain a competitive advantage or differing cultural perspectives over the eligibility of a category. Beyond the primary categories based on physical attributes, some competitions have further eligibility criteria based on nationality, community membership or occupation.


Men's and women's divisions

The foremost division of this kind is by sex ing in athletics, men and women almost exclusively compete against people of the same sex. In contrast to the men's division, the development of the women's division has caused regular dispute in terms of eligibility. Several
intersex Intersex people are individuals born with any of several Sexual characteristics, sex characteristics including chromosome patterns, gonads, or sex organ, genitals that, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Hum ...
athletes had success in the women's division in the early 20th century, such as Stanisława Walasiewicz and Mary Weston (later Mark), and the IAAF responded by introducing sex verification for all athletes in the women's category, beginning with the disqualification of sprinter
Foekje Dillema Foekje Dillema (18 September 1926 – 5 December 2007) was a Dutch track and field athlete. Biography Dillema was named "athlete of the match" in 1949 after winning the 100 metres and 200 metres race during a tournament in London. She was an im ...
in 1950 after she refused to be tested. Olympic champion Ewa Kłobukowska became the first athlete to publicly fail the test in 1967 and the humiliation she suffered as a result of the announcement led to sex tests becoming a confidential process. Hurdler Maria José Martínez-Patiño failed a test and was disqualified in 1985, but publicly fought the ban in court and was reinstated in 1988. In 1991, the IAAF replaced the sex
chromatin Chromatin is a complex of DNA and protein found in eukaryote, eukaryotic cells. The primary function is to package long DNA molecules into more compact, denser structures. This prevents the strands from becoming tangled and also plays important ...
test with general medical tests for athletes of all divisions, due to changes in ethical and scientific viewpoints. The question of eligibility for the women's division continued to be a contentious and public issue into the 21st century, with
Caster Semenya Mokgadi Caster Semenya Order of Ikhamanga, OIB (born 7 January 1991) is a South African middle-distance runner and winner of two Olympic medal, Olympic gold medals and three World Athletics Championships, World Championships in the women's 800 ...
and
Dutee Chand Dutee Chand (born 3 February 1996) is an Indian professional Sprint (running), sprinter and current national champion in the women's 100 metres event. She is the first Indian to win a gold medal in 100m race in a global competition. She is the t ...
bearing periods of ineligibility and taking the IAAF to the
Court of Arbitration for Sport The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS; french: Tribunal arbitral du sport, ''TAS'') is an international body established in 1984 to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration. Its headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland and its co ...
over their bans under the
hyperandrogenism Hyperandrogenism is a medical condition A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not immediately due to any external ...
rules. An increasing number of
trans men A trans man is a man who was assigned female at birth. The label of transgender man is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual man, although the two labels are often used in this way. ''Transgender'' is an umbrella term that inclu ...
and
trans women A trans woman or a transgender woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth. Trans women have a female gender identity, may experience gender dysphoria, and may Gender transitioning, transition; this process commonly includes Feminizing horm ...
began to compete in the women's division in the 2010s, which caused other athletes in the division to raise questions of fairness in competition. The dispute reached new heights in 2019 with the
United Nations Human Rights Council The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), CDH is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world. The Council has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a United Nations Regiona ...
issuing a statement that the IAAF was breaching "international human rights norms and standards" through its practice of allowing some athletes to compete in the women's division only once they had lowered their testosterone levels through medical intervention. The IAAF and several prominent women athletes, such as Paula Radcliffe, said this was required in order to prevent a situation where countries deliberately sought out athletes who were intersex, transgender or had a difference in sex development in order to succeed in women's sport. Others have argued for the abolition of gender verification testing, with academic Maren Behrensen citing the harm to tested athletes' social and emotional well-being, the inaccuracy of the medical tests, the difficulty of determining the exact performance advantage provided by a given condition, and the moral risk of "gender-engineering" by setting a biological definition for a female athlete.


Age

Age is a significant determiner of ability to compete in athletics, with athletic ability generally increasing through childhood and adolescence, peaking in early adulthood, then gradually declining from around the age of 30 onwards. As a result, numerous age categories have been created to encourage younger and older athletes to engage in competition. At international level, there are three major categories for young athletes: under-23, under-20 (formerly junior), and under-18 (formerly youth). Beyond international rules, different youth categories are in use in the sport, often in the form of two-year or single age groupings.Age group changes included in proposals for 2016 UKA rule book
. ''Athletics Weekly'' (2015-03-11). Retrieved 2019-04-20.
Age categories are more extensive for older athletes and these are commonly organised under the umbrella of
masters athletics Masters athletics is a class of the sport of athletics for athletes of over 35 years of age. The events include track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and t ...
, which has age groups spanning five years for all athletes aged 35 and above. There is no limit to the number of age groupings, hence Stanisław Kowalski holds a world record for men aged 105 years and over. For competitions where age is not taken into account, this is known as senior or open class athletics; in international rules there remain some restrictions on younger people competing in endurance events for health reasons . Athletes' eligibility for a competitive age grouping is typically assessed through official documentation, such as birth records or passports. Instances of age cheating have occurred at all of the IAAF's global age category championships. One prominent incident was Olympic medalist Thomas Longosiwa, who provided a falsified passport to compete at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics at age 24. Age falsification for youth categories is mostly limited to less developed parts of the world, such as Africa and South Asia, which have less stringent controls on official documentation and many mature athletes engaging in high school competition due to disruptions to education. The same regions of the world also present issues with age verification in masters age categories, with examples such as Indian distance runners Dharampal Singh Gudha and Fauja Singh (both claiming to be over 100 years old) reaching mainstream attention.


Athletes with disabilities

Athletes with physical disabilities have competed at separate international events since 1952. The
International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC; german: Internationales Paralympisches Komitee) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games and func ...
governs the competitions in athletics, and hosts the
Paralympic Games The Paralympic Games or Paralympics, also known as the ''Games of the Paralympiad'', is a periodic series of international multisport events involving athletes with a range of physical disability, disabilities, including impaired muscle power ...
, which have continued since
1960 It is also known as the "Year of Africa" because of major events—particularly the independence of seventeen African nations—that focused global attention on the continent and intensified feelings of Pan-Africanism. Events January * Jan ...
. Competitors at elite level competitions, are classified by disability, to arrange athletes with a similar disability in the same event. A classified T12 athlete for example, is a track athlete with a visual impairment. * F = Field athletes * T = Track athletes * 11–13 –
visual impairment Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment, is a medical definition primarily measured based on an individual's better eye visual acuity; in the absence of treatment such as correctable eyewear, assistive devices, and medical treatment ...
. Compete with a sighted guide. * 20 – Intellectual disability * 31–38 –
cerebral palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time, but include poor coordination, spasticity, stiff muscles, Paresis, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be p ...
* 40–46 –
amputation Amputation is the removal of a Limb (anatomy), limb by Physical trauma, trauma, medical illness, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as cancer, malignancy or gangrene. In ...
, and others (including athletes with
dwarfism Dwarfism is a condition wherein an organism is exceptionally small, and mostly occurs in the animal kingdom. In humans, it is sometimes defined as Short stature, an adult height of less than , regardless of sex; the average adult height among ...
) * 51–58 – Wheelchair Operating independently of the Paralympic movement,
deaf Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In medical contexts, the meaning of deafness is hearing loss that precludes a person from understanding spoken language, an Audiology, audiological condition. In this context it ...
athletes have a long-established tradition of organised athletics, with the first major world competition being included at the 1924
Deaflympics The Deaflympics also known as Deaflympiad (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are a periodic series of multi-sport events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at which Deaf athlet ...
. The primary impediments to the inclusion of deaf athletes in mainstream athletics are sound based elements of the sport, such as the
starter's pistol A starting pistol or starter pistol is a blank (cartridge), blank handgun that is fired to start track and field racing, races, as well as competitive swimming races at some meets. Starter guns cannot fire real bullet, ammunition without first be ...
. This can be a disadvantage even in Paralympic sport, as shown in by the example of Olivia Breen who failed to hear a false start in a cerebral palsy class race at the 2012 Paralympics. In wheelchair racing athletes compete in lightweight racing chairs. Most major
marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a distance of , usually run as a road running, road race, but the distance can be covered on trail routes. The marathon can be completed by running or with a run/walk strategy. There are also w ...
s have wheelchair divisions and the elite racers consistently beat the runners on foot. The speed of wheel chair racers has caused difficulties for race organisers in properly staggering their start times compared to runners. A collision between Josh Cassidy (a wheelchair racer) and Tiki Gelana (a leading female marathoner) at the 2013 London Marathon brought the issue into the spotlight again. Occasionally, athletes with a disability reach a level at which they can compete against able-bodied athletes. Legally blind Marla Runyan ran in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and won a gold medal in the 1500 metres at the
1999 Pan American Games The 1999 Pan American Games, officially the XIII Pan American Games or the 13th Pan American Games, was a major international multi-sport event that was held from July 23 to August 8, 1999, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and surrounding towns and ...
.
Oscar Pistorius Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (; ; born 22 November 1986) is a South African convicted murderer and former professional Sprint (running), sprinter. Both of his feet were Amputation, amputated when he was 11 months old owing to a congenital defe ...
, a double amputee, was a semi-finalist at the 2011 World Championships and won a silver medal as part of South Africa's 4 × 400 metres relay team. In
masters athletics Masters athletics is a class of the sport of athletics for athletes of over 35 years of age. The events include track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and t ...
it is far more common to make an accommodation for athletes with a disability. Blind Ivy Granstrom set numerous Masters world records while being guided around the track. The disability categories have caused dispute among athletes, with some athletes being accused of exaggerating their level of disability in order to compete in less challenging categories. Athletes with
intellectual disabilities Intellectual disability (ID), also known as general learning disability in the United Kingdom and formerly mental retardation,Rosa's Law, Pub. L. 111-256124 Stat. 2643(2010). is a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by signific ...
were banned from competition in all Paralymic sports in response to verification issues and cheating at the 2000 Summer Paralympics and the intellectual disability athletics programme was only restored twelve years later at the
2012 Summer Paralympics The 2012 Summer Paralympics, branded as the London 2012 Paralympic Games, were an international Multi-sport event, multi-sport parasports event held from 29 August to 9 September 2012 in London, England, United Kingdom. They were the 14th Sum ...
.


Venues

Professional athletics almost exclusively takes place in one of three types of venue:
stadium A stadium (plural, : stadiums or stadia) is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to ...
s, set courses on grass or woodland, and road-based courses. Such venues ensure that events take place in a relatively standardised manner, as well as improving the safety of athletes and enjoyment for spectators. At a more basic level, many forms of athletics demand very little in terms of venue requirements; almost any open space or area of field can provide a suitable venue for basic running, jumping and throwing competitions.


Track and field stadium

A standard outdoor track is in the shape of a
stadium A stadium (plural, : stadiums or stadia) is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to ...
, 400 metres in length, and has at least eight lanes 1.22 m in width (small arenas might have six lanes). Older track facilities may have nonstandard track lengths, such as 440 yards (402.3 m; 1/4 mile) (common in the United States). Historically, tracks were covered by a dirt running surface. Modern All-weather running tracks are covered by a synthetic weather-resistant running surface, which typically consists of rubber (either black SBR or colored EPDM granules), bound by polyurethane or latex resins. Older tracks may be cinder-covered. A standard indoor track is designed similarly to an outdoor track, but is only 200 metres in length and has between four and eight lanes, each with width between 0.90 m and 1.10 m. Often, the bends of an indoor track will be banked to compensate for the small turning radius. However, because of space limitations, indoor tracks may have other nonstandard lengths, such as 160-yard (146.3 m) indoor track at
Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden, colloquially known as The Garden or by its initials MSG, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City. It is located in Midtown Manhattan between Seventh Avenue (Manhattan), Seventh and Eighth Avenue (Manhattan), Eig ...
used for the Millrose Games. Because of space limitations, meetings held at indoor facilities do not hold many of athletics events typically contested outdoors.


Cross country courses

There is no standardised form of cross country course and each venue is significantly defined by the environment it contains – some may be relatively flat and featureless, while others may be more challenging with natural obstacles, tight turns, and undulating ground. While a small number of purpose-built courses exist, the vast majority of cross country running courses are created by cordoning a specific area within any open natural land, typically a
park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Urban parks are urban green space, green spaces set aside for recreation inside t ...
,
woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum'' woods), a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade (see ...
or greenspace near a settlement.Competition Rules 2010–11
(pp. 227–28).
IAAF World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.
At the elite and professional level, courses must be looped and each lap must be between 1750 m and 2000 m in length. Severe obstacles such as deep ditches, high barriers and thick undergrowth not normally present; the course should be able to be completed whilst remaining on foot throughout. In order to maintain the sport's distinction from road running, the usage of unnatural or
macadam Macadam is a type of road construction, pioneered by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam around 1820, in which crushed stone is placed in shallow, convex layers and compacted thoroughly. A binding layer of stone dust (crushed stone from the o ...
ised surfaces is generally kept to a minimum or avoided entirely. Because the majority of races take place on areas of grass, soil, mud or earth, weather conditions can significantly affect the difficulty of cross country courses, as
snow Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes. It consists of frozen crystalline water throughout ...
and
rain Rain is water drop (liquid), droplets that have condensation, condensed from Water vapor#In Earth's atmosphere, atmospheric water vapor and then Precipitation, fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsib ...
reduces traction and can create areas of standing water.


Road courses

The surface of road races is highly important and the IAAF dictate that the courses must be along man-made roads, bicycle paths or footpaths. Courses set along major roads of cities are typical of road running events, and
traffic Traffic comprises pedestrians, vehicles, ridden or herded animals, trains, and other Public conveyance, conveyances that use public ways (roads) for travel and transportation. Traffic laws govern and regulate traffic, while rules of the roa ...
is usually cordoned off from the area during the competition. While soft ground, such as grass, is generally avoided, races may start and finish on soft ground or within a track and field stadium. Road racing courses come in two primary types: looped and point-to-point. Courses may be measured and designed to cover a standardised distance, such as , or they may simply follow a set route between two landmarks.Competition Rules 2010–11
pp. 224–26.
IAAF World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.
Road running courses over 5 km usually offer drinks or refreshment stations for runners at designated points alongside the course and medical professionals are present at the courses of major races due to the health risks involved with long-distance running. Elite road walks are conducted on closed loop courses (usually loops of 2,000 or 2,500 meters). Refreshment stations are also present over long distance walking competitions, with drinks being available on every lap for races longer than 10 km.Competition Rules 2010–11
(pp. 220–23).
IAAF World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.


Organizations

In 1912, the formation of the international governing body for athletics, the International Amateur Athletics Federation, began. In recognition of the movement of the sport from
amateurism An amateur () is generally considered a person who pursues an avocation independent from their source of income. Amateurs and their pursuits are also described as popular, informal, autodidacticism, self-taught, user-generated, do it yourself, DI ...
towards
professionalism A professional is a member of a profession or any person who work (human activity), works in a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the partic ...
that began in the late 1970s, the word ''amateur'' was dropped from the name, and the organization was rebranded as the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2001. In late 2019, another rebranding began, with World Athletics as the new title of the governing body. World Athletics has 215 member nations and territories, which are divided into six continental areas (or area associations). The six association areas are for
Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa Africa is ...
,
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area ...
,
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
,
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a region, geographical region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Western Hemisphere, Western hemispheres, Oceania is estimated to have a land area of ...
,
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
and
South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the souther ...
. The sports within athletics do not have their own independent governing bodies at either international or continental level; instead, all fall under the athletics authorities.IAAF Member Federation Manual – Chapter 2
(pp. 17–18).
IAAF World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation (from 1912 to 2001) and International Association of Athletics Federations (from 2001 to 2019, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international sports governing b ...
. Retrieved on 26 March 2010.
*   AAA –
Asian Athletics Association The Asian Athletics Association is the continental governing body for the sport of athletics (sport), athletics in Asia. It is headquartered in Singapore. It organises the Asian Championships in Athletics and other continental competitions. The c ...
*   CAA –
Confederation of African Athletics The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA; French: ''Confédération Africaine d'Athlétisme'') is the continental association for the sport of athletics in Africa. It is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal. It organises the African Championships in ...
*   CONSUDATLE – South American Athletics Confederation *   NACACAA –
North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) is the continental confederation governing body of athletics for national governing bodies and multi-national federations within Northern America Northern Americ ...
*   EAA –
European Athletics Association The European Athletic Association (more commonly known as European Athletics) is the governing body for athletics in Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical s ...
*   OAA –
Oceania Athletics Association The Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) is the governing body for the sport of athletics in Oceania. The OAA head office is located in Varsity Lakes, Queensland, Varsity Lakes, Gold Coast, Queensland, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. History T ...
National level athletics organisations are responsible for the regulation of the sport within their respective countries and most major competitions have some form of permit or approval from their national body.


Competitions

Athletics competitions can be broadly divided into three types: international championships, national championships, and annual meetings and races. Athletics at international championships, or Games, represent the pinnacle of competition within the sport, and they are contested between athletes representing their country or region. The organisation of these competitions is usually overseen by either a world, continental, or regional athletics governing body. Athletes gain entry into these competitions by earning selection from their national athletics governing body, which is generally done by assessing athletes via their past achievements or performances at a national selection event. National championships are annual competitions endorsed by a national governing body which serve the purpose of deciding the country's best athlete in each event. Annual one-day meetings and races form the most basic level of competition and are the most common format of athletics contests. These events are often invitational and are organised by sports organisations, sports promoters, or other institutions. Competitions typically feature only one of the sports within athletics. However, major outdoor international athletics championships and athletics competitions held as part of multi-sport events usually feature a combination of track and field, road running and racewalking events


International competitions


Multi-sport events

The modern
Summer Olympics The Summer Olympic Games (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques d'été), also known as the Games of the Olympiad, and often referred to as the Summer Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event normally held once every four years. The inau ...
was the first event at which a global athletics competition took place. All the four major sports within athletics have featured in the Olympic athletics programme since its inception in 1896, although cross country has since been dropped. The Olympic competition is the most prestigious athletics contest, and many athletics events are among the most watched events at the Summer Olympics. A total of 47 athletics events are held at the Olympics, 24 for men and 23 for women (as of London 2012). The events within the men's and women's programmes are either identical or have a similar equivalent, with the sole exception being that men contest the 50 km race walk. Following the model of the Olympics, various other
multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among organized teams of athletes from (mostly) Nation state, nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport ev ...
s arose during the 20th century, which included athletics as a core sport within the programme from the outset. These included the
Commonwealth Games The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the Friendly Games or simply the Comm Games, are a quadrennial international multi-sport event among athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 British Empire Game ...
, the
Central American and Caribbean Games The Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC or CACGs) are a multi-sport event, multi-sport regional championship event, held quadrennial (once every four years), typically in the middle (even) year between Summer Olympic Games, Summer Olymp ...
,
Universiade The Universiade is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The name is a portmanteau of the words "University" and "Olympiad". The Universiade is referred t ...
, and many others. The Summer Paralympics include athletes with a
physical disability A physical disability is a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Other physical disability, disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living skills, daily living, such as respiratory ...
. Track and field, and road events have featured in the Paralympic athletics programme since its inception in 1960. The Paralympic competition is the most prestigious athletics contest where athletes with a physical disability compete. Athletics at the Paralympic Games also include wheelchair racing where athletes compete in lightweight racing chairs. Athletes with a
visual impairment Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment, is a medical definition primarily measured based on an individual's better eye visual acuity; in the absence of treatment such as correctable eyewear, assistive devices, and medical treatment ...
compete with a sighted guide. At the
2012 Summer Paralympics The 2012 Summer Paralympics, branded as the London 2012 Paralympic Games, were an international Multi-sport event, multi-sport parasports event held from 29 August to 9 September 2012 in London, England, United Kingdom. They were the 14th Sum ...
in
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
, for the first time at an international athletics event, the guides received medals, such as the pilots in cycling, and the guides at the Paralympic Winter Games have done for a while.


World championships

The
World Athletics Championships The World Athletics Championships (until 2019 known as the World Championships in Athletics) are a biennial Athletics (sport), athletics competition organized by World Athletics (formerly IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federations ...
is the primary global athletics championships held by World Athletics. The biennial competition was first held in 1983 and now features an event programme which is identical to the Olympics. Thus, road running, racewalking and track and field are the sports which feature at the competition. Cross country running has its own discrete global championships – the World Athletics Cross Country Championships – which has been held annually since 1973. The
World Athletics Indoor Championships The World Athletics Indoor Championships are a biennial indoor track and field competition served as the global championship for that version of the sport. Organised by the World Athletics, the competition was inaugurated as the ''World Indoor G ...
is a biennial athletics championships which features solely indoor track and field events. The foremost separate road running event is the annual World Athletics Half Marathon Championships (formerly ''IAAF World Half Marathon Championships''). While not having official world championship status, the biennial World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships fulfils a similar role for the sport of racewalking. Outdoor track and field is the only sport in athletics that does not have a its own distinct global championship which is separate from other types of athletics, although the
IAAF Continental Cup The IAAF Continental Cup was an international track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes pl ...
(a quadrennial competition between continental teams) is composed entirely of outdoor track and field events. Other world championships include the World Athletics U20 Championships and the 2017 defunct World Youth Championships in Athletics, which are for athletes under-19 and under-17, respectively.
World Masters Athletics World Masters Athletics (WMA) is the worldwide governing body for the sport of masters athletics – which includes track and field, cross country running, cross country, and road running events – as participated by people over 35 years of age. ...
conducts the World Masters Athletics Championships for athletes in 5-year age divisions over the age of 35. The now defunct IAAF World Road Relay Championships served as the global event for ekiden marathon relay races. Elite athletes with a physical disability compete at the
World Para Athletics Championships The World Para Athletics Championships, known as the IPC Athletics World Championships prior to 2017, are a biennial Paralympic athletics event organized by World Para Athletics, a subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It ...
.


Culture and media

Athletics, and its athletes in particular, has been artistically depicted since ancient times – one of the surviving instances include runners and high jumpers in the motifs of
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
ian tombs dating from 2250 BC. Athletics was much respected in Ancient Greece and the events within the ancient pentathlon provided inspiration for large statues such as the
Discobolus The ''Discobolus'' of Myron (" discus thrower", el, Δισκοβόλος, ''Diskobólos'') is an Ancient Greek sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. Sculpture is the three-dimensiona ...
and
Discophoros The ''Discophoros'', also spelled ''Discophorus'' (Greek – " Discus-Bearer"), was a bronze sculpture by the classical Greek sculptor Polyclitus, creator of the '' Doryphoros'' and '' Diadumenos'', and its many Roman marble copies. (It is no ...
, and for motifs on countless vase and
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard and durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porc ...
works.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
discussed the significance of the pentathlon in his
treatise A treatise is a Formality, formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject and its conclusi ...
''
Rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
'' and reflected on the athlete aesthetic of the period: "a body capable of enduring all efforts, either of the racecourse or of bodily strength...This is why the athletes in the pentathlon are most beautiful".Ancient Olympic Events; Pentathlon
.
Perseus digital library The Perseus Project is a digital library project of Tufts University, which assembles digital collections of humanities resources. Version 4.0 is also known as the "Perseus Hopper", and it is hosted by the Department of Classical Studies. The proj ...
. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
Films about athletics are overwhelmingly focused on running events: the 1962 film '' The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner'' (based on the book of the same name) explores cross country running as a means of escape. ''
Chariots of Fire ''Chariots of Fire'' is a 1981 British historical sports drama film directed by Hugh Hudson, written by Colin Welland and produced by David Puttnam. It is based on the true story of two British athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddel ...
'', perhaps one of the most well-known athletics films, is a fictionalised account of
Eric Liddell Eric Henry Liddell (; 16 January 1902 – 21 February 1945) was a Scottish sprint (running), sprinter, Rugby union, rugby player and Christian missionary. Born in Qing dynasty, Qing China to Scottish missionary parents, he attended boardi ...
and
Harold Abrahams Harold Maurice Abrahams (15 December 1899 – 14 January 1978) was an English track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is der ...
's chase for sprint
gold medal A gold medal is a medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloy An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a ...
s at the 1924 Olympics. Track and field has been the subject of American films such as '' Personal Best'' (1981) and '' Across the Tracks'' (1991).
Biopic A biographical film or biopic () is a film that dramatizes the life of a Nonfiction, non-fictional or History, historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central character's real name is used. The ...
s are found within the genre, including '' Prefontaine'' (regarding
Steve Prefontaine Steve Roland "Pre" Prefontaine (January 25, 1951 – May 30, 1975) was an American long-distance runner Long-distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over distances of at least . Physiologically, it is ...
) and '' Jim Thorpe – All-American'' (1951) featuring
Burt Lancaster Burton Stephen Lancaster (November 2, 1913 – October 20, 1994) was an American actor and producer. Initially known for playing tough guys with a tender heart, he went on to achieve success with more complex and challenging roles over a 45-yea ...
as Thorpe. Documentaries are also common with examples such as 2007 film '' Spirit of the Marathon'', which follows runners' preparations for the 2005
Chicago Marathon The Chicago Marathon is a marathon (long-distance foot race) held every October in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the six World Marathon Majors. Thus, it is also a World Athletics Label Road Races, World Athletics Label Road Race. The Chicago ...
. Books on the subject are predominantly non-fiction, and tend towards the forms of training manuals and historical accounts of athletics. The story of the four-minute mile has been a particularly popular subject, spawning books such as '' The Perfect Mile'' and '' 3:59.4: The Quest to Break the Four Minute Mile''. Athletics
journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people that are the "news of the day" and that informs society A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social ...
has spawned a number of dedicated
periodical A periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a published work that appears in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is a newspaper, but a magazine or a Academic journal, journal ...
s including ''
Athletics Weekly ''AW'' (formerly ''Athletics Weekly'') is a monthly track and field magazine published in the United Kingdom by Athletics Weekly Limited. The magazine covers news, results, fixtures, coaching and product advice for all aspects of track and field, ...
'' and '' Race Walking Record'', both of which were first published in England in the early 1940s, and '' Track & Field News'' which was first published in the United States in 1948. ''
Runner's World ''Runner's World'' is a globally circulated monthly magazine for runners of all skills sets, published by Hearst Communications, Hearst in Easton, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Before its acquisition by Hearst, it was founded and published ...
'' has been in print since 1966 and the '' Track & Field Magazine of Japan'' (''Rikujyo Kyogi Magazine'') is another long-running publication. Athletics events have been selected as a main motif in numerous collectors' coins. One of the recent samples is the €10 Greek Running commemorative coin, minted in 2003 to commemorate the
2004 Summer Olympics The 2004 Summer Olympics ( el, Θερινοί Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 2004, ), officially the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad ( el, Αγώνες της 28ης Ολυμπιάδας, ) and also known as Athens 2004 ( el, Αθήνα 2004), ...
. In the obverse of the coin, a modern athlete figure appears in the foreground, shown in the starting position, while in the background two ancient runners are carved in a manner that gives the appearance of a coin that is "worn" by time. This scene originally appeared on a black-figure vase of the 6th century BC.


See also

* List of Olympic medalists in athletics (men), (women) *
List of world records in athletics World records in Sport of athletics, athletics are ratified by World Athletics. Athletics records comprise the best performances in the sports of track and field, road running and racewalking. Records are kept for athletics at the Summer Olympi ...
* World records in athletics (athletes with a disability) *
National records in athletics National records in athletics are the marks achieved by a nation's best athlete or athletes in a particular athletics event. These records are ratified by the respective national athletics governing body. A national record may also be the respecti ...
* Association of Track and Field Statisticians *
Running in Ancient Greece In Ancient Greece, the history of running can be traced back to 776 BC. Running was important to members of ancient Greece, Greek society, and is consistently highlighted in documents referencing the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games hosted a large ...
*
USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships The USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships is an annual track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the spor ...
*
World Athletics Championships The World Athletics Championships (until 2019 known as the World Championships in Athletics) are a biennial Athletics (sport), athletics competition organized by World Athletics (formerly IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federations ...
*
Diamond League The Diamond League is an annual series of elite track and field athletic competitions comprising fourteen of the best invitational athletics meetings. The series sits in the top tier of the World Athletics (formerly known as the IAAF) one-day mee ...


References


External links

*
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
website
''Track and Field News''
website
European Athletics
website
GBR Athletics
– historical competition data
Masters World Rankings
* This provides a detailed, although Anglocentric, overview of the history of the sport. {{DEFAULTSORT:Athletics (Sport) Summer Olympic sports Individual sports Athletic sports Athletic culture based on Greek antiquity Books about sports Track and Field books