An introduction to the history of track and field in the olympic games

Baron Pierre de Coubertin Various uses of the term "Olympic" to describe athletic events in the modern era have been documented since the 17th century. It was first organised by the lawyer Robert Dover between andwith several later celebrations leading up to the present day. The British Olympic Associationin its bid for the Olympic Games in London, mentioned these games as "the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings".

An introduction to the history of track and field in the olympic games

AthensGreece, The inaugural Games of the modern Olympics were attended by as many as athletes, all male, coming from 12 countries. The athletes competed in 43 events covering athletics track and fieldcycling, swimming, gymnasticsweightlifting, wrestlingfencing, shooting, and tennis.

A festive atmosphere prevailed as foreign athletes were greeted with parades and banquets. A crowd estimated at more than 60, attended the opening day of competition. Members of the royal family of Greece played an important role in the organization and management of the Games and were regular spectators over the 10 days of the Olympics.

Hungary sent the only national team; most of the foreign athletes were well-to-do college students or members of athletic clubs attracted by the novelty of the Olympics. The track-and-field events were held at the Panathenaic Stadium. The stadium, originally built in bce, had been excavated but not rebuilt for the Greek Olympics and lay in disrepair before the Olympics, but through the direction and financial aid of Georgios Averoff, a wealthy Egyptian Greek, it was restored with white marble.

An introduction to the history of track and field in the olympic games

The ancient track had an unusually elongated shape with such sharp turns that runners were forced to slow down considerably in order to stay in their lanes. The track-and-field competition was dominated by athletes from the United States, who won 9 of the 12 events.

The swimming events were held in the cold currents of the Bay of Zea. Paul Masson of France won three of the six cycling events. The Olympics featured the first marathon.

The ancient Olympic Games

The race became the highlight of the Games and was won by Spyridon Louisa Greek whose victory earned him the lasting admiration of his nation. ParisFrance, The second modern Olympic competition was relegated to a sideshow of the World Exhibition, which was being held in Paris in the summer of The Games suffered from poor organization and marketing, with events conducted over a period of five months in venues that often were inadequate.

The track-and-field events were held on a grass field that was uneven and often wet. Broken telephone poles were used to make hurdles, and hammer throwers occasionally found their efforts stuck in a tree. The swimming events were contested in the Seine Riverwhose strong current carried athletes to unrealistically fast times.

There was such confusion about schedules that few spectators or journalists were present at the events. Officials and athletes often were unaware that they were participating in the Olympics.

Nevertheless, the Games were attended by nearly 1, athletes representing 24 countries.

Olympic Games - History of the modern Summer Games |

There was an infusion of new events, some of which were not officially part of the Olympic program or were later discontinued e. Archery, football soccerrowing, and equestrian events were among those introduced at the Games. Despite the problems of the Paris Games, the quality of athletic performance improved.

Athletes from the United States, led by jumper Ray Ewry and sprinter Alvin Kraenzleinagain dominated the track-and-field competition. American athletes won 17 of the 23 track-and-field events, while French athletes earned more than medals, by far the most for any nation at the Games.

LouisMissouri, U. The Games originally were scheduled for Chicago, but the location was changed to St. Louis when Olympic organizing committee officials decided to combine the Olympics with the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, a large fair celebrating the th anniversary of the U.

As a result, the Games suffered.Olympic Games, athletic festival that originated in ancient Greece and was revived in the late 19th century.

An introduction to the history of track and field in the olympic games

Before the s the Games were officially limited to competitors with amateur status, but in the s many events were opened to professional athletes. The Amateur Athletic Union is committed to improving the development, safety and welfare of athletes and participants involved in sport.

In the first modern Olympic Games were staged. Although initially of limited appeal, the Olympics captured the imagination of athletes and grew steadily, making track and field an international sport for the first time.

In the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) was formed by representatives from 16 countries. American track-and-field athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games.

His long jump world record stood for 25 years.


Track and Field Athlete. For 70 years, PUMA has relentlessly pushed sport and culture forward. In the past seven decades, PUMA made history with their innovative products and legendary athletes. The sport of track and field has its roots in human and field-style events are among the oldest of all sporting competitions, as running, jumping and throwing are natural and universal forms of human physical first recorded examples of organized track and field events at a sports festival are the Ancient Olympic Games.

PUMA® - PUMA History