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Track and Field - The Jewel of the Olympics

Aug 7, 2008
There is no doubt that athletics is the crown jewel of the Olympics. After all, the only event held at the very first Olympics in 776 BC was a race the length of the stadium. The modern state of track and field has certainly expanded to include more running, jumping and throwing events.

Let's take a closer look at the track and field glamor events.

Running Events

There is nothing fundamentally easier to understand than using your feet to get from point A to point B faster than anyone else. The running events have come a long way from a lap around the stadium in the aforementioned first Olympic Games. These days, running around the track includes these distances: 100 m, 200 m, 400m, 800 m, 1500 m, 5000 m, 10000 m, 4 x 100 m relay, 4 x 400 m relay. Both men and women compete in all of these events.

There are also track events that include obstacles such as the hurdles and the steeplechase. The men compete in the 110 m hurdles whereas the women run a distance of 100 m. In the longer distance hurdles, both men and women run 400 m. In the steeplechase, runners race around the track running through water jumps and stepping over barriers that don't knock over, unlike the hurdles. The distance for the men's and women's steeplechase event is 3000 m.

And then there are the road races for the endurance events such as the marathon. This traditionally happens on the last day of the Olympics to coincide with the closing ceremonies. Other road races include the 20k walk for the men and women and the 50k for men only.

Field Events

As the runners run around the track of the stadium, competition is also being held on the field. The field events are separated into the jumping events and the throwing events.

The jumping events include the high jump, the long jump, the triple jump, and the pole vault. The throwing events include the discus, the hammer throw, the shot put and the javelin. Both men and women participate in all these competitions. Qualifying rounds are required in all these events but they don't carry onto the finals. The best of three proper attempts in the final wins the discipline.

Combined Events

To prove who is the best overall athlete, there is the decathlon for the men and heptathlon for the women. As the name implies, the decathlon is made of ten disciplines which include: 100 m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 m, 110 m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500 m.

The women compete in the following events for the heptathlon: 100 m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 m, long jump, javelin, and 800 m.

There you have the events that make up the track and field competition at the Olympics. Looking at that list, it certainly requires the athletes to obtain the Olympic ideal of faster, stronger, higher!
About the Author
Mariam Ma is a freelance writer for Olympic Blvd where you can buy Fuwa dolls and other Beijing Olympic mascot souvenirs.
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