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

Some pacemakers lead the group in a marathon.

A pacemaker or pace-setter (sometimes colloquially called a rabbit) is a runner who leads a middle- or long distance running event for the first section to ensure a fast time and avoid excessive tactical racing. Pacemakers are frequently employed by race organisers for world record attempts with specific instructions for lap times. Some athletes have become essentially professional pacemakers. A competitor who chooses the tactic of leading in order to win is called a front-runner rather than a pacemaker. Pacemakers may be used to avoid the tactics of deception that are possible in competition by those who, for example, race away from the start line (and are likely to subsequently slow down), giving the other runners the impression that they are far behind. A trusted team of pacemakers who are paid to keep the runner at a speed that they can manage for the rest of the race become useful in such a situation. Pacemakers are also used on world record attempts in order to make sure that the runner knows where their invisible 'opponent' predecessor is at that stage of the race. Pacemakers serve the role of conveying tangible information about pacing on the track during a race.

Archive Track and Field.svg More about...Pacemaker

Selected biography

Pietro Paolo Mennea (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjɛtro menˈnɛa]; 28 June 1952 - 21 March 2013) was an Italian sprinter and politician, who was the 1980 Moscow Olympic 200 meter Champion, and also held the 200 m world record for 17 years. Mennea, who was born in Barletta, started his long international athletic career in 1971, where he won the first of his 14 Italian outdoor titles in the 100/200. He went on to win 2 Indoor titles at 60/400, along with 5 Mediterranean Games Golds in 100/200. He competed at the European Championships with a third place in the 4 x 100 m relay. He made his Olympic debut at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where he made the final of the 200 m, his strongest event. He crossed the line in third place, behind Valeri Borzov and Larry Black. Three more Olympic 200 metre finals would follow later in his career. In 1979, Mennea was 1st in the 100, and 2nd in the 200 behind Allan Wells of Great Britain in the European Cup. But afterwards since he was a student in political sciences, took part in the World University Games, which were held on the high-altitude track of Mexico City. His winning time in the 200, 19.72, was the new world record, beating the former world record by Tommie Smith set on the same track in the 1968 Summer Olympics. The record held out for seventeen years (Mennea also held the low-altitude world record from 1980 to 1983: 19.96, set in his home town, Barletta), and was finally beaten by Michael Johnson at the US Trials for the 1996 Summer Olympics. As of 1st April 2012 still only eight athletes recorded a better time over 200 metres than Mennea's world record.

Archive Track and Field.svg More about...Pietro Mennea

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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