THE ATHLETICS PORTAL
Athletics is a group of sporting events that involves competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and race walking.
The results of racing events are decided by finishing position (or time, where measured), while the jumps and throws are won by the athlete 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 are individual sports, with the exception of relay races and competitions which combine athletes' performances for a team score, such as cross country.
Organized athletics are traced back to the Ancient Olympic Games 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 conducted by the International Association of Athletics Federations and its member federations.
The athletics meeting forms the backbone of the Summer Olympics. The foremost international athletics meeting is the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which incorporates track and field, marathon running and race walking. Other top level competitions in athletics include the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Athletes with a physical disability compete at the Summer Paralympics and the World Para Athletics Championships.
The word athletics is derived from the Ancient Greek ἀθλητής (athlētēs, "combatant in public games") from ἆθλον (athlon, "prize") or ἆθλος (athlos, "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. Related words in Germanic and Romance languages 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 racewalking and marathon running (although cross country running is typically considered a separate sport).
It's from the first edition (1896 Summer Olympics), that Athletics has been considered the "Queen" of the Olympics. Since then there have been a series of competitions organized at world level, than at the continental level. Furthermore, the Athletics is the main sport of nearly all multi-sport events such as Universiade, Mediterranean Games or Pan American Games. The following list refers to the main Athletics competitions that take place in the world.
Starting blocks are a device used in the sport of Track and Field, known worldwide as Athletics, by sprinters to hold their feet at the start of a race so they don't slip as they push out at the sound of the gun. For most levels of competition, including all high level International competition, starting blocks are now mandatory equipment for the start of sprint races. The first starting blocks are credited to being invented by Australian Charlie Booth and his father in 1929. Prior to their invention, runners would dig holes in the dirt track. Trowels were provided at the start of races. This was not the most consistent or stable system. It also was destructive to the track surface with the holes having to be filled for subsequent runners.
Wood was the first material used, with some tracks having permanently placed wooden structures at the start line. Portable blocks were held by long metal spikes that needed to be pounded into the ground. These devices evolved to metal blocks. The common blocks of the 1960s were heavy and adjusted by screws that were frequently broken or became rusted over the years. Lighter weight blocks were made of sheet metal. The rubberized surfaces of new All-weather running tracks that became common starting in the 1970s, made the old blocks even less secure.
Haile Gebrselassie (Amharic: ኃይሌ ገብረ ሥላሴ, haylē gebre silassē; born 18 April, 1973) is an Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete. He won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 metres and four World Championship titles in the event. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon. Further to this, he won four world titles indoors and was the 2001 World Half Marathon Champion. Gebrselassie had major competition wins at distances between 1500 metres and the marathon, moving from outdoor, indoor and cross country running to road running in the latter part of his career. He broke 61 Ethiopian National Records ranging from 800 meters to the marathon, set 27 world records, and is widely considered one of the greatest distance runners in history. In September 2008, at the age of 35, he won the Berlin Marathon with a
world record time of 2:03:59, breaking his own world record by 27 seconds. The record stood for three years. Since he was over the age of 35, that mark still stands as the Masters Age group world record.
Did you know...
- Pascal Behrenbruch, German decathlete
- Yordanka Blagoeva, Bulgarian high jumper
- Mercedes Chilla, Spanish javelin thrower
- Jürgen Haase, German distance runner
- Ralph Hills, American shot putter
- Al Joyner, American triple jumper
- Olga Kaniskina, Russian race walker
- Elmer Niklander, Finnish discus thrower and shot putter
- Sun Yingjie, Chinese distance runner
- Eshetu Tura, Ethiopian steeplechase runner
- Bernard Williams, American sprinter
- Marion Becker, German-Romanian javelin thrower
- Ashton Eaton, American decathlete
- Ernst Fast, Swedish distance runner
- Bill Graber, American pole vaulter
- Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russian distance runner
- Arthémon Hatungimana, Burundian middle-distance runner
- Eduard Hämäläinen, Belarusian-Finnish decathlete
- Ulrike Maisch, German distance runner
- José Marín, Spanish race walker
- Kirsten Münchow, German hammer thrower
- Bill Sefton, American pole vaulter
- Nikolina Shtereva, Bulgarian middle-distance runner
- Mike Agostini, Trinidadian sprinter
- Horace Ashenfelter, American steeplechase runner
- Herma Bauma, Austrian javelin thrower
- Gelete Burka, Ethiopian middle- and long-distance runner
- Constantina Diţă, Romanian distance runner
- Henry Eriksson, Swedish middle-distance runner
- Yevgeny Lukyanenko, Russian pole vaulter
- Sergey Litvinov, Soviet hammer thrower
- Aselefech Mergia, Ethiopian distance runner
- Andrew Rock, American sprinter
- Oleg Sakirkin, Kazakhstani triple jumper
- Irving Saladino, Panamanian long jumper
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