ATHLETICSAthletics is an exclusive collection of sporting events that involve competitiverunning, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types ofathletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross countryrunning, and race walking. The simplicity of the competitions, and the lackof a need for expensive equipment, makes athletics one of the most commonlycompeted sports in the world. Athletics is mostly an individual sport, with theexception of relay races and competitions that combine athletes’ performancesfor a team score, such as cross-country.Organized athletics are traced back to the Ancient Olympic Games from 776BC, and the member clubs of the International Association of AthleticsFederations conducts most modern events. The athletics meeting forms thebackbone of the modern Summer Olympics, and other leading internationalmeetings include the IAAF World Championships and World IndoorChampionships, and athletes with a physical disability compete at theSummer Paralympics and the IPC Athletics World Championships.
Track EventsA. Sprints or Short DistanceSprints are short running events in athletics and track and field. Races over shortdistances are among the oldest running competitions. The first 13 editions of theAncient Olympic Games featured only one event—the stadion race, which was a racefrom one end of the stadium to the other. There are three sprinting events whichare currently held at the Summer Olympics and outdoor World Championships: the100 metres, 200 metres, and 400 metres. These events have their roots in races ofimperial measurements which were later altered to metric: the 100 m evolved fromthe 100 yard dash, the 200 m distances came from the furlong (or 1/8 of a mile),and the 400 m was the successor to the 440 yard dash or quarter-mile race.At the professional level, sprinters begin the race by assuming a crouching positionin the starting blocks before leaning forward and gradually moving into an uprightposition as the race progresses and momentum is gained. The set position differsdepending on the start. Body alignment is of key importance in producing theoptimal amount of force. Ideally the athlete should begin in a 4-point stance andpush off of both legs for the most force production. Athletes remain in the samelane on the running track throughout all sprinting events, with the sole exception ofthe 400 m indoors. Races up to 100 m are largely focused upon acceleration to anathletes maximum speed. All sprints beyond this distance increasingly incorporatean element of endurance. Human physiology dictates that a runners near-top speedcannot be maintained for more than 30–35 seconds due to the accumulation oflactic acid in muscles.
B. Middle Distance RacesMiddle distance running events are track races longer than sprints, up to 3000metres. The standard middle distances are the 800 metres, 1500 metres andmile run, although the 3000 metres may also be classified as a middle distanceevent. The 880 yard run, or half mile, was the forebear to the 800 m distanceand it has its roots in competitions in the United Kingdom in the 1830s. The 1500m came about as a result of running three laps of a 500 m track, which wascommonplace in continental Europe in the 20th century.
C. Long Distance RacesLong-distance track event races require runners to balance their energy. Thesetypes of races are predominantly aerobic in nature and at the highest level,exceptional levels of aerobic endurance are required more than anything else.Elite long distance athletes typically train over 100 miles a week.
D. RelayRelay races are the only track and field event in which a team of runners directlycompetes against other teams. Typically, a team is made up of four runners ofthe same sex. Each runner completes their specified distance (referred to as aleg) before handing over a baton to a teammate, who then begins their leg uponreceiving the baton. There is usually a designated area where athletes mustexchange the baton. Teams may be disqualified if they fail to complete thechange within the area, or if the baton is dropped during the race. A team mayalso be disqualified if its runners are deemed to have willfully impeded othercompetitors.
E. HurdlesRaces with hurdles as obstacles were first popularized in the 19th century inEngland. The first known event, held in 1830, was a variation of the 100-yarddash that included heavy wooden barriers as obstacles. A competition betweenthe Oxford and Cambridge Athletic Clubs in 1864 refined this, holding a 120-yardrace (109.72 m) with ten hurdles of 3-foot and 6 inches (1.06 m) in height (eachplaced 10 yards (9.14 m) apart), with the first and final hurdles 15 yards fromthe start and finish, respectively.French organisers adapted the race into metric (adding 28 cm) and the basics ofthis race, the mens 110 metres hurdles, has remained largely unchanged. Theorigin of the 400 metres hurdles also lies in Oxford, where (around 1860) acompetition was held over 440 yards and twelve 1.06 m high wooden barrierswere placed along the course. The modern regulations stem from the 1900Summer Olympics: the distance was fixed to 400 m while ten 3-foot (91.44 cm)hurdles were placed 35 m apart on the track, with the first and final hurdlesbeing 45 m and 40 m away from the start and finish, respectively. Womenshurdles are slightly lower at 84 cm for the 100 m event and 76 cm (2 ft 6in) forthe 400 m event.
F. Walking RacesRacewalking, or race walking, is a long-distance athletic event. Although it is afoot race, it is different from running in that one foot must appear to be incontact with the ground at all times. Stride length is reduced, so to achievecompetitive speeds, racewalkers must attain cadence rates comparable to thoseachieved by Olympic 400-metre runners—and they must do so for hours at atime since the Olympic events are the 20-kilometre (12 mi) race walk (men andwomen) and 50-kilometre (31 mi) race walk (men only).
Field EventsA. Jumping Events1. Long JumpThe long jump is a track and field event in which athletes combinespeed, strength, and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a takeoff point. This event has been an Olympic medal event since the first modernOlympics in 1896 and has a history in the Ancient Olympic Games.
2. Triple JumpThe triple jump (sometimes referred to as the hop, step and jump or the hop,skip and jump) is a track and field sport, similar to the long jump, but involving a―hop, bound and jump‖ routine, whereby the competitor runs down the trackand performs a hop, a bound and then a jump into the sand pit.The triple jump has its origins in the ancient Olympic Games and has been amodern Olympics event since the Games inception in 1896.The current male and female world record holders are Jonathan Edwards ofGreat Britain, with a jump of 18.29 metres (60.0 ft), and InessaKravets ofUkraine, with a jump of 15.5 metres (51 ft). Both records were set during 1995World Championships in Gothenburg.
3. High JumpThe high jump is a track and field athletics event in which competitors mustjump over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without the aid of certaindevices. In its modern most practiced format, auxiliary weights and mounds havebeen used for assistance; rules have changed over the years. It has beencontested since the Olympic Games of ancient Greece. Over the centuries since,competitors have introduced increasingly more effective techniques to arrive atthe current form. Javier Sotomayor (Cuba) is the current mens record holderwith a jump of 2.45 metres set in 1993, the longest standing record in thehistory of the mens high jump. StefkaKostadinova (Bulgaria) has held thewomens world record at 2.09 metres since 1987, also the longest-held record inthe event.
4. Pole VaultPole-vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long, flexiblepole (which today is usually made either of fiberglass or carbon fiber) as an aidto leap over a bar. The ancient Greeks, Cretans and Celts knew pole-jumpingcompetitions. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896for men and 2000 for women.
B. Throwing Events1. Shot PutThe shot put is a track and field event involving "putting" (throwing in a pushingmotion) a heavy metal ball—the shot—as far as possible. It is common to usethe term "shot put" to refer to both the shot itself and to the putting (throwing)action.Competitors take their throw from inside a marked circle 2.135 metres (7.00 ft)in diameter, with a stopboard approximately 10 centimetres (3.9 in) high at thefront of the circle. The distance thrown is measured from the inside of thecircumference of the circle to the nearest mark made in the ground by the fallingshot, with distances rounded down to the nearest centimetre under IAAF, WMA,USATF, and NCAA rules.
2. Discus ThrowThe discus throw is an event in track and field athletics competition, in which anathlete throws a heavy disc—called a discus—in an attempt to mark a fartherdistance than his or her competitors. It is an ancient sport, as evidenced by the5th century BC Myron statue, Discobolus. Although not part of the modernpentathlon, it was one of the events of the ancient pentathlon, which can bedated at least back to 708 BC.
3. Javelin ThrowThe javelin throw is a track and field athletics throwing event where the object tobe thrown is the javelin, a spear approximately 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in length. Javelinis an event of both the mens decathlon and the womens heptathlon. The javelinthrower gains momentum by running within a predetermined area.
4. Hammer ThrowThe modern or Olympic hammer throw is an athletic throwing event where theobject is to throw a heavy metal ball attached to a wire and handle. The name"hammer throw" is derived from older competitions where an actual sledgehammer was thrown. Such competitions are still part of the Scottish HighlandGames, where the implement used is a steel or lead weight at the end of a canehandle.
III. Facilities and Equipment
Playing VenueA. The StadiumStadium" comesfrom the Greek word"stadion" (στάδιον),a measure of lengthequalling the lengthof 600 human feet.As feet are ofvariable length theexact length of astadion depends onthe exact lengthadopted for 1 foot ata given place andtime. Although inmodern terms 1stadion = 600 ft(180 m), in a givenhistorical context itmay actually signifya length up to 15%larger or smaller. ARoman stadium wasdefined somewhat differently to be a distance of 125 passus (double-paces),equal to about 185 m (607 ft).Although most dictionaries provide for both"stadiums" and "stadia" as valid plurals, etymological sticklers sometimes apply"stadia" only to measures of length in excess of 1 stadium. (That the "stadium"measurement is used only in historical contexts perhaps explains the sustaineduse of the archaic plural.)The English use of stadium comes from the tieredinfrastructure surrounding a Roman track of such length.The oldest known stadium is the one in Olympia, in the western Peloponnese,Greece, where the Olympic Games of antiquity were held from 776 BC. Initiallythe Games consisted of a single event, a sprint along the length of the stadium.According to the article Stadium at Olympia the track at Olympia was longer thaneven the longest definition for stadion given in the article Stadion (unit oflength). In turn. Greek and Roman stadiums have been found in numerousancient cities, perhaps the most famous being the Stadium of Domitian, in Rome.The first stadium to be used in modern times, and the only one to be usedduring the 19th century, was the excavated and refurbished ancient Panathenaicstadium which has hosted Olympic Games in 1870, 1875, 1896, 1906, and 2004.
B. The InfieldFound at the center of the track, includes runways for jumping events and hascircular areas of material such as concrete or asphalt for most throwing events.
EquipmentA. BatonThe hollow cylinder that is carriedby each member of a relay team ina running race and passed to thenext team member.B. HurdlesA light portable barrier over whichcompetitors must leap in certainraces. It consists of 2 adjustablemeta; stands which supportcentral wooden bar.C. BarriersThe circuit has four ordinary barriersand one water jump. Over 3,000 m,each runner must clear a total of 28ordinary barriers and seven waterjumps. This entails seven completelaps after starting with a fraction of alap run without barriers.D. ShotIn open competitions the mens shotweighs 7.260 kilograms (16.01 lb), andthe womens shot weighs 4 kilograms(8.8 lb). Junior, school, andmasterscompetitions often use differentweights of shots, typically below theweights of those used in opencompetitions;
E. DiscusThe discus, the object to be thrown, isa heavy lenticular disc with a weight of2 kilograms (4.4 lb) and diameter of219–221 millimetres (8.6–8.7 in) forthe mens event, and a weight of 1kilogram (2.2 lb) and diameter of 180–182 millimetres (7.1–7.2 in) for thewomens event.F. JavelinThe size, shape, minimumweight,andcenter of gravity of the javelinimplement itself are all defined by IAAFrules. In international competition, menthrow a javelin between 2.6 and 2.7 m(8 ft 6 in and 8 ft 10 in) in length and 800 g(28 oz) in weight, and women throw ajavelin between 2.2 and 2.3 m(7 ft 3 in and 7 ft 7 in) in length and 600 g(21 oz) in weight. The javelin is equippedwith a grip, approximately 150 mm (5.9 in)wide, made of cord and located at thejavelins center of gravity (0.9 to 1.06 m(2 ft 10 in to 3 ft 6 in) or 0.8 to 0.92 m (2 ft7 in to 3 ft 0.2 in) from the tip of the javelinfor mens and womens implements,respectively).G. HammerThe mens hammer weighs 16 pounds(7.257 kg) and measures 3 feet 11 3⁄4inches (121.5 cm) in length and thewomens hammer weighs 8.82 lb (4 kg)and 3 feet 11 inches (119.5 cm) in length.Competitors gain maximum distance byswinging the hammer above their head toset up the circular motion. Then theyapply force and pick up speed bycompleting one to four turns in the circle.