Athletics running in olympic games


Track and field is the purest form of athleticism. It is a test of speed, strength and skill:who can run the fastest,jump the highest and throw the farthest. In fact,the Olympic motto ”Citius,Altius,Fortius” means “Swifter,Higher,Stronger”. Athletics,as track and field is known, has probably been contested ever since humans first learned to walk upright. Track and field consist of track or running events and field events,jumping and throwing. In today’s Olympic Games there are 15 running events and 8 field events.The running events are (in meters) 100, 200, 400, 800, 1 500, 5 000, 10 000, marathon, 110 high hurdles (100 for women), 400 hurdles, 4*100 and 4*400 relay,3 000 steeplechase (not a women’s event) and 20 000 and 50 000 walk (women compete only in a 10 000 meter walk).The fiel events are the long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, hammer throw and javelin. Also, there is the decathlon for men and heptathlon for women – a blend of events that test not only the speed and strenght of an athlete, but his or her technical skill.The winner of the the Olympic decathlon is crowned as the “world’s greatest athlete”. Among the earliest known track and field stars were Coroebus,winner of a 192 meter foot race in the Greek Games of 777 B.C., and a Spartan named Chionis, who in 656 B.C. long jumped 7.05 meters – track and field’s oldest known records. With the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896, track and field entered a new era of popularity. Although its popularity has in recent years, waned in the U.S.,the sport is still as popular as ever in other coners of the world. Why do people run? The American track coach Brutus Hamilton, a 1920 silver medalist in the decathlon, put it best: ”Men are completely and joyously happy in their simple tastes,their strong and well-conditioned bodies, and with the thrill of wholesome competition before them. These are the days of their youth,when they can run without weariness; these are their buoyant golden days; and they are running because they love it.”


Three sprints are contested in the Olympic Games: 100, 200 and 400 – meter race.The 100 m is run on a straight course while the others are run on a curved track.The winner of the Olympic 100 meters or the holder of the world record is crowned “the world’s fastest human”.Only one runner has ever capture all three events in the Olympic Games. Austrlian Betty Cuthbert turned this race trick by taking the 100m and 200m in 1956 and the 400m in 1964 year (golden medals). The key to the sprints,particularly the 100m, is the quick start.Because the race is short, the runner who gets off quickly has a decided advantage. Canadian Ben Johnson, before his fall from grace as the fastest human in 1988, was known for his explosive start.Florence Griffith Joyner copied Johnson’s start and won two gold medals in Seoul, and set a world record in the 200m. Sprinting has always been considered the domain of the U.S..Among the early great sprinters were americans John Owens,Jr.,who in 1890 became the first to crach the 10-second barrier in the 100 yards;Luther Cary, who held the 100-yard record for more than 11 years;and Tom Benke, who won the first Olympic gold medal in the 100 and 400 meters in 1896 and probably would have won the 200m, but the race was not contested until 1900.Jesse Owen’s effort in the 1936 Games, in which he won the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4*100 relay is considered the greatest performance by a track start in Olympic history, Carl Lewis matched that feat in 1984. Other outstanding U.S. sprinters include Charles Paddack, Jackson Scholz, Eddie Tolan, “Bullet” Bob Hayes and Jim Hines,the first men credited with 9.9s in the 100 meters. Hines also set the world record in 1968 with 9.95s,which was not broken until Lewis streaked to a 9.92s in 1988. There are some notable exceptions to U.S. dominance in the sprints. In 1960, West German,Armin Hary, the first man to run the 100 meters in 10 seconds,beat American Dave Sime. In 1992 it was Linford Christie’s turn to break the American dominance.

In the 400m Lee Evan’s 43.86, set in the high altitude of Mexico City,held up as the longest sprint record ever.It was finally broken by Butch Reynolds when in 1988 he ran a 43.29 in Zurich.Today, one of the premier male runners to have times of under 20 seconds in the 200m and under 44 seconds in the 400m. Johnson boasts “that I am probably the most consistent sprinter there has been”. However, there are women who can easily make that boast.But women did not get a chance to peform in the international arena until 1928, and then it was just in the 100m. The 200m was not added to the Olympic Games until 1948, when Holland’s Fanny Blankers-Koen, already a mother and 30 years old, won the 100m and 200m gold medals. In 1964 women were at last allowed to run the 400m, and Betty Cuthbert sprinted into history. Already an Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m Cuthbert took the inaugural 400m, becoming the only runner- male or female- to win all three sprints.In the 1988 Games,Griffith Joyner set the existing world record in the 200m (21.34) to match the 100m record (10.49) she had set in the U.S. Olympic trials a few weeks earlier.After East Germany’s great Heike Grechsler was beaten by Griffith Joyner in both races, she turned to the amazing sprinter and said, “You’re the best. So fast! So fast!”.


The 800 meters is the first of the middle-distance races,followed by the 1 500. The 800m is a bridge – linking sprinters and middle-distance runners. Competitors must keep up a quick,tortuous pace throughout the race. The men’s 800m world record of 1:41.73 is held by Sebastian Coe (1981). The women’s mark of 1:53.28 belongs to Jarmila Kratochvilova (1985). For the women, the 800 has hod a spotty Olympic history.It was first run in 1928 and then not again until 1960.

The 1 500m is one of the marquee Olympic events. Its history is colorful and its heroes many. It is a race filled with strategy where one miscalculation or a single misstep spells defeat.


The men’s long-distance races are the 5 000m, 10 000m, marathon and 3 000m steeplechase.The women have run the 3 000m, 10 000m and marathon, but in 1996 the 5000 replaced the 3 000m. The marathon was the first Olympic long-distance race, held in Athens in 1896 in honor of the Greek runner Pheidippides.According to legend, he ran from Marathon to Athens, bringing news of the Greek victory over the Persians. The women’s marathon made its debut at the L.A. Games in 1984.


The other running events are 110m high hurdles (100 for women), the 400m hurdles and the 4*100 and 4*400 relay races. The hurdles have been run since the middle of the 19th century. At first, athletes jumped over crude barriers. The 110m hurdles were part of the first Olympic Games in 1896. The 400m hurdles was introduced in1900. As usual, the women had to wait. For them, the high hurdles debuted in 1932 and the distance was only 80 meters instead of 100m. Today’s length was not instituted until 1972. In 1984, the 400 was added.


The relays first appeared in 1908, when the U.S. beat Germany in the 1 600m medley, which consisted of the 200m, 400m, and 800m. The 4*100m made its debut in 1912. The key to either relay is a smooth hand off.


Slowing a pace down a bit,race walking has been in the Olympic Games since the Interim Games in 1906. The early walking races were generally shorter, ranging from 1 500 meters to 10 miles.Women didn’t start race walking until 1992. According to the rules, walkers must keep one foot on the ground at all times. In the Olympic Games, a world record cannot be set because the races take place on roads and not tracks.


The ancient Olympic Games contested four running events. The stadium was the original and formed the only event in the Olympic Games for the first 13 Olympiads. It was a footrace of about 192 meters, or one length of the track, or stade, and is the word from which the modern word stadium is derived. The youngest athlete to compete as a runner in the Olympic Games was Heather Gooding of Barbados who ran in the 800m in 1972 aged only 14 years and 104 days.The oldest female Olympic runner ever was Lourders Klitzkie, a marathon runner from Guam, who was 48 year,234 days old when she ran that race in1988.The youngest man to run at the Olympic Games was sprinter Farhad Navab aged 16 years, 61 days old (1972). Percival Wyer is the oldest Olympic runner ever and in fact the oldest person to compete in Olympic track and field. A marathoner from Canada,he was 51 years, 199 days (1936).

Running is the most ancient of all sports.It is the most widespread physical exercise, which forms the base for track and field athletic.