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History Of Athletics
How Everything Began


The history of athletics its roots in human prehistory. The first recorded organized athletics events at a sports festival are the Ancient Olympic Games. At the first Games in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, only one event was contested: the stadion footrace and the first olympic winner was Koroibos. In later years further running competitions have been added. Also in the Ancient Olympic pentathlon, four of the events are part of the track and field we have even today. The long jump, the javelin throw, the discus throw and the stadion foot race.

Athletics events were also present at the Panhellenic Games in Greece around this period, and they become known to Rome in 200 BC. In the Middle Ages new track and field events began developing in parts of Northern Europe. The stone put and weight throw competitions popular among Celtic societies were precursors to the modern shot put and hammer throw events. Also the pole vault, was polular in the Northern European Lowlands in the 18th century.

Modern competitions in athletics, took place for the first time in the 19th century. Usually they were organised by educational institutions, military organisations and sports clubs as competitions between rival establishments. In these competitions the hurdling were introduced for the first time.

Also, in the 19th century the first national associations have been established and organized the first national competitions. In 1880 the Amateur Athletic Association of England start organizing the annual AAA Championships while in United States in 1876 took place for the first time the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships first by the New York Athletic Club.

The establishment of the modern Olympic Games in Athens at 1896 marked a new era for track and field. The Olympic athletics programme, comprising track and field events plus a marathon race, contained many of the foremost sporting competitions of the 1896 Summer Olympics. The Olympics also consolidated the use of metric measurements in international track and field events, both for race distances and for measuring jumps and throws. The events of track and field have been expanded in the following years.

In 1912 the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) was established, becoming the international governing body for athletics, having the amateurism as one of its founding principles for the sport. The first continental track and field competition was the 1919 South American Championships followed by the European Athletics Championships in 1934. In the 1928 Summer Olympics women competed for the first time.Furthermore, major athletics competitions for disabled athletes were first introduced at the 1960 Summer Paralympics.

From the 1960s, the athletics gained more exposure through television coverage. After over half a century of amateurism, the amateur status of the sport began to be displaced by growing professionalism in the late 1970s. In 1982 The IAAF abandoned amateurism, and later changed its name as the International Association of Athletics Federations. The following year IAAF established the World Championships in Athletics the first ever global competition for athletics which became one of track and field's most prestigious competitions along with the Olympics.

The IAAF World Championships in Athletics became a fully professional competition with the introduction of prize money in 1997. Also in 1998 the IAAF Golden League increased the professionalism of athletics. In 2010, the series was replaced by the more lucrative IAAF Diamond League which comprises meetings in Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East which are the first ever worldwide annual series of track and field meetings.


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