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For the Major League Baseball team, see Oakland Athletics.

Athletics (in the US also known as track and field or track and field athletics) is a collection of sport events, which can roughly be divided into running, throwing, and jumping.

Athletic events are usually organised around a 400 m running track, on which most of the running events take place. Field events (jumping and throwing) often take place in the field in the centre of the running track.

Many athletic events have an ancient origin and were already conducted in competitive form by the ancient Greeks. Athletics was included in the Olympic Games in 1896 and has been part of the program ever since. An international governing body, the IAAF was founded in 1912. The IAAF established separate outdoor World Championships in 1983. The AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) was the governing body in the United States until it collapsed under pressure from advancing professionalism in the late 1970's. A new governing body called The Athletics Congress (TAC) was formed, it was later renamed USA Track and Field (USATF or USA T&F). An additional, less structured organization, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) also exists in the USA to promote road racing. Both organizations allow athletes to receive money for racing putting an end to the "shamateurism" that existed before.

Table of contents
1 Events
2 World Records
3 See also


There are other variations besides the ones listed below but races of unusual length (e.g. 300 m) are run much less often. With the exception of the mile run, races based on imperial distances are rarely run on the track anymore since most tracks have been converted from a quarter mile (402.3 m) to 400 meters.

Men and women do not compete against each other. Women generally run the same distances as men although hurdles and steeplechase barriers are lower and the weights of the shot, discus, javelin and hammer are less.

World Records


Event Record Athlete Date Place
100 m 9.78s Tim Montgomery (USA) Sept 14, 2002 Paris, France
200 m 19.32s Michael Johnson (USA) Aug 1, 1996 Atlanta, Ga, USA
400 m 43.18s Michael Johnson (USA) Aug 26, 1999 Seville, Spain
800 m 1:41.11 Wilson Kipketer (Denmark) Aug 24, 1997 Cologne, Germany
1000 m 2:11.96 Noah Ngeny (Kenya) Sept 5, 1999 Rieti, Italy
1500 m 3:26.00 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) July 14, 1998 Rome, Italy
mile 3:43:13 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) July 7, 1999 Rome, Italy
2000 m 4:44.79 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) Sept 7, 1999 Berlin, Germany
3000 m 7:20.67 Daniel Komen (Kenya) Sept 1, 1996 Rieti, Italy
5000 m 12:37.35 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) May 31, 2004 Hengelo, Netherlands
10,000 m 26:20.31 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) June 8, 2004 Ostrava, Czech Republic
20,000 m 56:55.6 Arturo Barrios (Mexico) March 30, 1991 La Flčche, France
25,000 m 1:13:55.8 Toshihiko Seko (Japan) March 22, 1981 Christchurch, NZ
30,000 m 1:29:18.8 Toshihiko Seko (Japan) March 22, 1981 Christchurch, NZ
3000 m steeplechase 7:55.72 Brahim Boulami (Morocco) Aug 16, 2002 Zürich, Switzerland
110 m hurdles 12.91s Colin Jackson (UK) Aug 20, 1993 Stuttgart, Germany
400 m hurdles 46.78s Kevin Young (USA) Aug 6, 1992 Barcelona, Spain
High jump 2.45m Javier Sotomayor (Cuba) July 27, 1993 Salamanca, Spain
Pole vault 6.14m Sergey Bubka (Ukraine) July 31, 1994 Sestriere, Italy
Long jump 8.95m Mike Powell (USA) Aug 30, 1991 Tokyo, Japan
Triple jump 18.29m Jonathan Edwards (UK) Aug 7, 1995 Göteborg, Sweden
Shot put 23.12m Randy Barnes (USA) May 20, 1990 Los Angeles, Ca, USA
Discus 74.08m Jürgen Schult (E. Germany) June 6, 1986 Neubrandenburg, E. Germany
Hammer 86.74m Yury Syedikh (USSR) Aug 30, 1986 Stuttgart, W. Germany
Javelin 98.48m Jan Zelezný (Czech Rep) May 25, 1996 Jena, Germany
Decathlon 9026 pts Roman Sebrle (Czech Rep) May 27, 2001 Götzis, Austria
10.64s (100 m), 8.11m (long jump), 15.33m (shot put), 2.12m (high jump), 47.79s (400 m), 13.92s (110 m hurdles), 47.92m (discus), 4.80 m (pole vault), 70.16m (javelin), 4:21.98s (1500 m)
20 km walk 1:17:21 Jefferson Pérez (Ecuador) Aug 23, 2003 Paris, France
30 km walk 2:01:44.1 Maurizio Damilano (Italy) Oct 3, 1992 Cuneo, Italy
50 km walk 3:40:57.9 Thierry Toutain (France) Sept 29, 1996 Héricourt, France
4x100 m relay 37.40s Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell,
Dennis Mitchell, Carl Lewis (USA)
Aug 8, 1992 Barcelona, Spain
4x200 m relay 1:18.68 Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell,
Floyd Heard, Carl Lewis (USA)
April 17, 1994 Walnut, Ca, USA
4x400 m relay 2:54.20 Jerome Young, Antonio Pettigrew,
Tyree Washington, Michael Johnson (USA)
July 22, 1998 New York City
4x800 m relay 7:03.89 Peter Elliott, Garry Cook,
Steve Cram, Sebastian Coe (UK)
Aug 30, 1982 London, England
4x1500 m relay 14:38.8 Thomas Wessinghage, Harald Hudak,
Michael Lederer, Karl Fleschen (W. Germany)
Aug 17, 1977 Cologne, W. Germany
4x110 m hurdles relay 54.40s University of Tennessee (USA) May 22, 1981 Knoxville, Tenn, USA
Marathon 2:04:55 Paul Tergat (Kenya) Sept 28, 2003 Berlin, Germany


Event Record Athlete Date Place
100 m 10.49s Florence Griffith Joyner (USA) July 16, 1988 Indianapolis, Ind, USA
200 m 21.34s Florence Griffith Joyner (USA) Sept 29, 1988 Seoul, S. Korea
400 m 47.60 Marita Koch (E. Germany) Oct 6, 1985 Canberra, Australia
800 m 1:53.28 Jarmila Kratochvílová (Czechoslovakia) July 26, 1983 Munich, W. Germany
1000 m 2:28.98 Svetlana Masterkova (Russia) Aug 23, 1996 Brussels, Belgium
1500 m 3:50.46 Qu Junxia (China) Sept 11, 1993 Beijing, China
2000 m 5:25.36 Sonia O'Sullivan (Rep. Ireland) July 8, 1994 Edinburgh, Scotland
3000 m 8:06.11 Wang Junxia (China) Sept 13, 1993 Beijing, China
5000 m 14:24.68 Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey) June 11, 2004 Bergen, Norway
10,000 m 29:31.78 Wang Junxia (China) Sept 8, 1993 Beijing, China
20,000 m 1:05:26.6 Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) Sept 3, 2000 Borgholzhausen, Germany
25,000 m 1:27:05.8 Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) Sept 21, 2002 Mengerskirchen, Germany
30,000 m 1:45:50.0 Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) June 7, 2003 Warstein, Germany
3000 m steeplechase 9:01.59 Gulnara Samitova, (Russia) July 4, 2004 Heraklion, Greece
100 m hurdles 12.21s Yordanka Donkova (Bulgaria) Aug 20, 1988 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
400 m hurdles 52.34s Yuliya Pechenkina (Russia) Aug 8, 2003 Tula, Russia
High jump 2.09m Stefka Kostadinova (Bulgaria) Aug 30, 1987 Rome, Italy
Pole vault 4.90m Yelena Isinbeyeva (Russia) July 30, 2004 London, England
Long jump 7.52m Galina Chistyakova (USSR) June 11, 1988 Leningrad, USSR
Triple jump 15.50 Inesa Kravets (Ukraine) Aug 10, 1995 Göteborg, Sweden
Shot put 22.63 Natalya Lisovskaya (USSR) June 7, 1987 Moscow, USSR
Discus 76.80 Gabriele Reinsch (E. Germany July 9, 1988 Neubrandenburg, E. Germany
Hammer throw 75.97m Mihaela Melinte (Romania) May 13, 1999 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Javelin 71.54m Osleidys Menéndez (Cuba) July 1, 2001 Rethymno, Greece
Heptathlon 7291 pts Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA) Sept 23-24, 1988 Seoul, S. Korea
12.69s (110 m hurdles), 1.86m (high jump), 15.80 m (shot put), 22.56s (200 m), 7.27m (long jump), 45.66m (javelin), 2:08.51 (800 m)
5 km walk 20:02.60 Gillian O'Sullivan (Rep. of Ireland) July 13, 2002 Dublin, Ireland
10 km walk 41:56.23 Nadezhda Ryashkina (USSR) July 24, 1990 Seattle, Wa, USA
4x100 m Relay 41.37 Silke Gladisch, Sabine Rieger,
Ingrid Auerswald, Marlies Göhr (E. Germany)
Oct 6, 1985 Canberra, Australia
4x200 m Relay 1:27.46 LaTasha Jenkins, LaTasha Colander-Richardson,
Nanceen Perry, Marion Jones (USA)
April 29, 2000 Philadelphia, Pa, USA
4x400 m Relay 3:15.17 Tatyana Ledovskaya, Olga Nazarova,
Mariya Pinigina, Olga Bryzgina (USSR)
Oct 1, 1988 Seoul, S. Korea
4x800 m Relay 7:50.17 Nadezhda Olizarenko, Lyubov Gurina,
Lyudmila Borisova, Irina Podyalovskaya (USSR)
Aug 5, 1984 Moscow, USSR
Marathon 2:15:25 Paula Radcliffe (UK) April 13, 2003 London, England, UK

See also