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.

Variants of ATHLETICS

athletics or track and field also track-and-field games

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on athletics, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up athletics? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.