Portal:Athletics

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THE ATHLETICS PORTAL

Athletics stadium

Athletics is a collection of sporting events that involve 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 commonly competed sports in the world. Athletics is mostly an individual sport, 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 was used to describe 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 the most prominent one in the United Kingdom and most of the areas of the former British Empire. Furthermore, foreign words in many Germanic and Romance languages which are related to the term athletics also have a similar meaning.

In much of North America, athletics is synonymous with sports in general, maintaining a more historic 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 most athletics events, including racewalking and marathon running (although cross country running is typically considered as a separate sport).

Track and Field.svg More about...Athletics

Athletics competitions

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.

Event 1st edition Kind of competition Can participate
Olympic Games 1896 World games Earth icon Fredrik.png Worldwide
World Championships 1983 World championships
World Indoor Championships 1985
European Championships 1934 Continental championships Europe (orthographic projection).svg Europe
European Indoor Championships 1966
South American Championships 1919 South America (orthographic projection).svg South America
Asian Championships 1973 Asia (orthographic projection).svg Asia
African Championships 1979 Africa (orthographic projection).svg Africa
Ocenian Championships 1990 Australia-New Guinea (orthographic projection).svg Oceania
Track and Field.svg More about...Athletics competitions

Selected article

1904 Olympic sprint.jpg

A starting pistol or starter pistol is a handgun (typically a specially designed revolver) or electronic toy weapon that is fired to start track and field races, as well as competitive swimming races at some meets. The loud report of the gun going off is a signal to the athletes to begin the event. Usually a cloud of smoke can be seen when shot. Blank shells or caps are used to prevent injury. Starting pistols may be modified versions of standard pistols incapable of firing bullets, most commonly achieved by welding obstacles into the barrel. When electronic timing is used, a sensor is often affixed to the gun, which sends an electronic signal to the timing system upon firing. For deaf competitors or for modern electronic systems, a light may be used instead. An issue with the use of starting pistols is that, since the report of the pistol is carried to the competitors at the speed of sound, which takes about 3 milliseconds to travel one meter, positions nearest the starter hear the report a few milliseconds before further positions. This issue is exaggerated in races where the runners begin in a stagger, putting a significant distance between the nearest and furthest runners. To avoid this problem, the pistol is sometimes wired with a microphone that transmits the sound virtually instantaneously to loudspeakers directly behind each competitor.

Archive Track and Field.svg More about...Starting pistol

Selected biography

Walter Dix.jpg

Walter Dix (born January 31, 1986) is an American sprinter who specializes in the 100 meters and 200 meters. He is the fourth fastest 200 m runner ever with a best of 19.53 seconds, and has broken the 10-second barrier in the 100 m with a best of 9.88 seconds.

Dix was a highly successful amateur athlete, setting a state record in the 100 m and trying out for the US Olympic Team at the age of eighteen. He joined Florida State University and in his first year he broke the 100 m American junior record and won at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. After a fourth place finish at the 2005 US Championships, Dix continued with his collegiate success, setting an NCAA record of 19.69 seconds in the 200 m and coming within one hundredth of the 100 m record. He completed a 100 m, 200 m, and 4×100 meter relay sweep at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the first to do so since John Carlos in 1969. He closed his amateur career in 2008: another NCAA 200 m title made him the third most decorated track athlete in NCAA history, and he won gold and silver at the 2008 US Olympic Trials.

Archive Track and Field.svg More about...Walter Dix

World records

As of 19 October 2014
Event Men Record Women Record
100 m Jamaica Usain Bolt 9.58 United States Florence Griffith-Joyner 10.49
200 m Jamaica Usain Bolt 19.19 United States Florence Griffith-Joyner 21.34
400 m South Africa Wayde van Niekerk 43.03 East Germany Marita Koch 47.60
800 m Kenya David Rudisha 1:40.91 Czechoslovakia Jarmila Kratochvílová 1:53.28
1500 m Morocco Hicham El Guerrouj 3:26.00 China Qu Yunxia 3:50.46
3000 m Kenya Daniel Komen 7:20.67 China Wang Junxia 8:06.11
5000 m Ethiopia Kenenisa Bekele 12:37.35 Ethiopia Tirunesh Dibaba 14:11.15
10000 m Ethiopia Kenenisa Bekele 26:17.53 China Wang Junxia 29:31.78
Marathon Kenya Dennis Kipruto Kimetto *2:02:57 United Kingdom Paula Radcliffe 2:15:25
3000 m steeplechase Qatar Saif Saaeed Shaheen 7:53.63 Russia Gulnara Samitova-Galkina 8:58.81
110 / 100 m hurdles United States Aries Merritt 12.80 Bulgaria Jordanka Donkova 12.21
400 m hurdles United States Kevin Young 46.78 Russia Yuliya Pechonkina 52.34
High jump Cuba Javier Sotomayor 2.45 m Bulgaria Stefka Kostadinova 2.09 m
Pole vault France Renaud Lavillenie 6.16 m Russia Elena Isinbaeva 5.06 m
Long jump United States Mike Powell 8.95 m Soviet Union Galina Chistyakova 7.52 m
Triple jump United Kingdom Jonathan Edwards 18.29 m Ukraine Inessa Kravets 15.50 m
Shot put United States Randy Barnes 23.12 m Soviet Union Natalya Lisovskaya 22.63 m
Discus throw East Germany Jürgen Schult 74.08 m East Germany Gabriele Reinsch 76.80 m
Hammer throw Soviet Union Yuriy Sedykh 86.74 m Poland Anita Włodarczyk *79.58 m
Javelin throw Czech Republic Jan Železný 98.48 m Czech Republic Barbora Špotáková 72.28 m
Decathlon/Heptathlon United States Ashton Eaton 9,039 pt. United States Jackie Joyner-Kersee 7,291 pt.
20 km racewalk Russia Vladimir Kanaykin 1:17:16 Russia Elena Lashmanova 1:25:02
50 km racewalk France Yohann Diniz 3:32:33
4×100 m relay  Jamaica 36.84  United States 40.82
4×400 m relay  United States 2:54.29  Soviet Union 3:15.17

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