Track and Field is a sport that consists of a number of events. These events include athletics such as running, jumping, and throwing. Most of the events are individual but a few, like relay events, involve a team. Team competitions allocate points to events and athletes gain points to their team's total by finishing high in individual events.
Track and Field
The different events take different skills to be successful. There are long distance runs that take endurance, short sprints that take speed, and throwing events that take technique and strength. To do well in track and field you will need to combine physical ability and practice.
History of Track and Field
Track and Field is probably the oldest sport or athletic competition in human history. Running races and jumping contests have been around from ancient history. Even as young kids competing against others by racing and jumping are natural things to do.
The first Olympics had only one event and it was a foot race event called the stadion footrace. The race was around a 200 yard sprint. There were officials to determine who won and starting blocks. The first winner was a man name Coroebus of Elis.
Track and field took another big step in history when the Greeks added the Pentathlon to the Olympics in 708 BC. In addition to the stadion footrace they added four additional events including javelin throw, discus throw, long jump, and wrestling. Points from these five events would be added up to determine an overall winner.
Additional events have been added over the years. Track and field has become a huge international sport and a big part of the summer Olympics every four years.
Track competitions today can take place indoors or outdoors. In a typical outdoor stadium there is an oval dirt track with grass in the center. The standard length for the oval track is 400m. The running events take place on the track, while the jumping and throwing events take place in the center on the grass. Longer races such as the marathon or cross country races will take place outside of the stadium.
Famous Track and Field Athletes
There have been many famous track and field athletes in history. Often the most popular is the current "fastest man in the world" who is the current 100m record holder. Here are some of the most famous track and field athletes:
Jim Thorpe - Jim Thorpe won the 1912 Olympic gold medal in decathlon and pentathlon. He was also a professional football player and baseball player.
Jesse Owens - Jesse won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympics for 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4x100 relay. It was an especially great accomplishment as he did this in Berlin, Germany as a black man in front of Adolf Hilter!
Carl Lewis - Carl Lewis won 9 Olympic Gold medals in track and field.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee - Jackie was a tremendous athlete winning Olympic Gold medals in the heptathlon and the long jump. She was voted the greatest female athlete of all time by Sports Illustrated Women's magazine.
Jesse Owens Biography for Kids
Track and Field
Glossary and Terms
Jackie Joyner-Kersee Biography for Kids