Athletics or ‘Track and Field’ as its more commonly known, to the immediate eye involves a whole load of extremely muscular specimens running, jumping and throwing their fit and firm bodies around a track….
Well.. In reality girls, it’s not too far from that, however the sports boasts an amazing history and requires athletes to be not only physically strong and and fit but also mentally conditioned and prepared.
Athletics, more commonly known as ‘Track and Field’, we can safely say has its roots firmly embedded in world sporting history.
Organised variations of the events included in Track and Field today, date back to the Ancient Olympic Games, first recorded in 776 BC, in Olympia, Greece.
In early Greece however, these games used to take on a courting ritual as opposed to being an established sport. Yep, thats right ladies, the male athlete who became victorious on the track was able to select a woman of his choice to become his wife!!! Aren’t we glad times have changed!
Moving into the late 19th century, track and field events started to emerge in sporting festivals, schools, and military organisations, as competitions between rival groups or individuals grew in popularity.
The Amateur Athletics Association was established in England in 1880, becoming the first national body for the sport of Athletics. This accompanied by the rebirth of the Olympic Games, opened the door for all track and field events.
In 1912 the sport found its first international governing body in the establishment of the IAAF, the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Organisations and championships across the globe, soon followed, as the popularity of the sport grew worldwide. Throughout this time from the early to mid 1900’s, the Olympic Games were joined by, the European Athletics Championships, South American Championships, Commonwealth Games and also the 1960 summer Paralympics. The sport became enormous, and began to make house hold names out of its top performing athletes.
By the 1980’s, track and field had reached an all time high, boasting stars such as, Carl Lewis, Sebastian Coe. In later years, stars such as 100m sprinter Linford Christie, and 400m/200m runner Michael Johnson saw much of the limelight, to accompany many more.
Johnson remains today the only male athlete to win both 200m and 400m in the same Olympic games back in 1996 in Atlanta. It was a period of time where the USA dominated the sport. Their superiority still remains today.
Other names you may have heard in recent years include 100m/200m world record holder Usain Bolt, and also world indoor and outdoor heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.
The breakdown of the various events in Athletics, are as follows..
Hurdles 60m: Indoor- Men and Women
Hurdles 100m Women
Hurdles 110m Men
Hurdles 400m Men and Women
Steeplechase 3,000 Hurdles
60m Sprint: Indoor
Girls Sport Talk understand that’s quite a few event’s to get your head around ladies! However, never fear, you can find a detailed explanation of all of these events in the Athletics Glossary section of the website.