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On Your Marks: A Guide to Track & Field

Athletics: Everything You Need to Know About Track & Field

Athletics is one of the most-watched sporting events at every Olympic Games. Eight-time gold-medallist Usain Bolt almost always lit up the track with his blistering pace, while the slow-burn 5000m and 10000m runs of four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah showcased the endurance of an athlete. Blanka Vlasic displayed great flexibility at high jumps while Neeraj Chopra - seen as the next big star - is always eager to show his physical prowess while throwing the javelin at Tokyo 2020. Athletics is a group of track and field events covering a wide variety of sports, with competitions featuring running, walking, jumping and throwing under different disciplines. 

Let’s have a look at what features at the Olympics:

  • Sprints (100m, 200m, 400m): Often the most eye-catching events at the Olympics, the sprints involve a dash to the finish over distances of 100m, 200m and 400m. Eight runners, all in different lanes, sprint to the finish line once the starting gun is sounded.
  • Hurdles (110m, 400m): A format similar to the sprints over similar distances, except the runners have to jump over hurdles before they get to the finish line. In the 110m, the hurdles are 107cm in height and can be knocked down even with the slightest touch. The first hurdle is placed 13.72m from the starting line while nine other hurdles are placed at a distance of 9.14m each, with participants having to run 14.02m from the last hurdle to the finish. In the 400m, the hurdles are 91.4cm high (men) and 76.2cm (women) while the runners have to clear 10 evenly-spaced hurdles before the finish line.
  • Relays (4x100m, 4x400m): Another category in the list of most popular events are the relay races - which consist of four runners from each country running equal distances with a baton in hand. Each country generally picks runners who also take part in the sprint races but may also go for relay specialists. Continue reading from The Olympics Official

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