Alonzo Babers, foreground, participates in the...

Athletics, as you know girls, is split into track and field events, so the terminology throughout can be vast.

Don’t let that sway you, just take a sprint start at this glossary and you’ll get the hang of all this athletics jargon in a hop, skip and a jump!

Anchor: The term used to describe the athlete who runs the last leg in a relay, usually the fastest of the team.

Bend: The curved section of the running track.

Blind Pass: Is used in shorter relays such as 4x100m, and occurs when the batton is exchanged between runners without necessarily having to look whilst passing.

Break Line: Indicates the point on the track where runners can change lanes if they choose to. Occurs in middle and long distance, and 4×4 relay.

Boxed In: Occurs when a runner is on the inside lane of the track and is unable to progress. This is due to others runners in close proxemity around them. Usually occurs in middle, or long distance races.

Cage: This is the term used to describe the area where the discus and hammer are thrown.

Changeover: The process where one leg of the relay hands the batton to another.

Count Back: Refers to the process that occurs when two or more athletes jump or throw an equal length or height. Count back determines the winner by looking back at the amount of failed attempts by the athletes involved.

Crouch Start: This is the position, at the blocks, in which all sprinters start the race.

Decathlete: The name of the athlete who competes in the Decathlon.

Decathlon: Is a mixed event, comprising of ten track and field events. Each event is scored. The winner is the Decathlete who has the highest score after all events have been completed.

Discus: A field event where the athlete is required to spin, and throw a disc shaped apparatus as far as posible within a designated area.

DNF: Did Not Finish

DNS: Did Not Start

DQ: Disqualified from an event.

False Start: Occurs when an athlete begins the race before the starters gun has been fired. Only one false start is allowed in a race before an athlete is disqualified.

Hammer Throw: Is a field event. A metal ball on the end of a metal chain, is spun and thrown as far as possible, in an enclosed area. These perimeters are marked on the field, any throw out of this area is deemed a foul throw.

Heat: Is the term used to describe the early knockout races, where athletes compete with each other to qualify for the semi-final stages.

Heptathlete: The name of the athlete that competes in the Heptathlon.

Heptathlon: Is a mixed event, comprising of seven different track and field events. As with the Decathlon, it is scored and the winner is the athlete who scores the highest.

High Jump: Is a field event. The aim of the high jump is for athletes to jump over the bar, onto the landing area. This jump must be made horizontally, without knocking the bar off.

Hurdles: Refers to a track event where athletes are required to jump over a series of fences, whilst running inbetween.

Javelin: Is a field event where athletes throw a spear like apparatus as far as they can.

Jump The Gun: This is another term for a “false start”.

Landing Area: Refers to the area where an athlete jumps into or onto after a jump. In high jump and pole vault this area is known as the “bed” where as in long jump or triple jump it is the pit.

Lane: This is the singular designated area of the track, for each runner. They are required to remain within this lane for the duration of the race.

Lap: The term used for one full circuit of a 400m track. To “lap” a fellow runner, means to overtake them by a distance of one whole circuit.

Leg: Is the individual section, of 4 different “legs” of a relay race.

Long Distance: Refers to a race which is at least 10,000m long in distance.

Long Jump: This is a field event where athletes compete in jumping the longest distance. They take a run up towards a board, spring up, then into a sandpit. Their distance is measured from the board to the back sand marker, which is more commonly made by the feet or hands.

Middle Distance: Refers to a race which is between 800m-5,000m in distance.

On Your Mark: This is the term used at the beginning of a race, signalling to the contestants they are to move to their start lines.

Pole Vault: This is a field event. The pole vault requires the athlete to jump over a horizontal bar, without knocking it off, with the help of a long vertical pole.

Relay: Is a race that includes four members on each team, who each run four separate legs. Relays are either 4x100m or 4x400m, and are usually the last events in a competion.

Set: Is the call made to encourage athletes to take their final starting position, just before the starters gun is fired and the race begins.

Shot Putt: Is a field event where athletes are required to throw a heavy metal ball called a “shot” as far as possible in a marked area on the ground.

Spikes: Are the footwear worn by athletes. The spikes on the base of the shoe are set to gain maximum grip.

Sprint: Refers to a track event, of a distance below 400m. A sprinter runs at top speed and constant power throughout the duration of the race.

Starters Gun: The starter fires blanks to indicate the start of the race.

Steeplechase: A middle distance race that requires athletes to overcome hurdles and water jumps, whilst running around the track.

Take off Board: This is the board in which athletes spring off, during long and triple jump.

Take off Line: This is the plasticine line at the end of the take off board. If an athlete marks this plasticine, the jump is invalid.

Track: Is the 400m oval circuit where athletes run around and compete within.

Water Jump: A small pool of water after a hurdle, found in the Steeplechase race.

Wind Assisted: Is a term used when the wind reaches 2m/s and is blowing in the same direction as the event. Effects times within events such as, 100m, 200m sprints and also long and triple jump. (Head wind-against the runner. Tail wind-in the same direction)


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