Variety of sport competitions held on a running track and on the adjacent field. It is the oldest form of organized sports, having been a part of the ancient Olympic Games from c. 776 BC to AD 393. Modern events include various sprint and middle- and long-distance races, relay races, hurdling, steeplechase, high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw, decathlon, pentathlon, and heptathlon. Cross-country running, marathons, and speed walking, which are rarely held on a track, are usually considered adjuncts of athletics. Events are held indoors and outdoors, and records are kept separately; some events are modified or eliminated for indoor competition.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on athletics, visit Britannica.com.
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