Light Athletics, nicknamed “the Queen of Sports”, is a set of sports that can be briefly divided into: track races, marathons, marches, competitions, multiple tests.
In a previous article we discussed the history of fencing, a discipline that has always been much loved. Today instead, let’s talk about what athletics is and how it is divided.
Many of the disciplines of athletics have ancient origins, and were held in competitive form already in ancient Greece. Athletics was included in the Olympic Games since the 1896 edition, and has been part of the Olympic program ever since. .
Athletics has its origins in ancient Greece: the historical findings testify to the deep sporting passion of the ancient Greeks and the honor in which they held athletes.
The birth of athletics is related to the first gestures of man, grappling with his survival needs. It is not known for how many thousands of years the first men ran, fleeing and chasing, and launched to attack or defend themselves, thus creating the natural matrix of a completely singular and unconscious competitive spirit. Greece, Egypt, Ireland and then Rome and Etruria, appear to be more likely the lands in which initially the athletic gesture of man assumed the most defined forms, not excluding however, for more distant times the birth of it.
The international governing body for athletics, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), was founded in 1912.
Greece is assigned an essential, almost total role in the sporting context of all times. Talking about Greece usually means talking about Olympia. In fact, the more or less official origin of sport and athletics coincides with the baptism of the Olympic Games. The first great athlete of whom we have certain news was Corebus of Elea by profession a cook, undisputed ruler of fast races, who in 776 BC. he was first on the stone threshold of Olympia after 192 meters of competition.
Even the Etruscans, one of the most fascinating and impenetrable civilizations in history, offer enormous historical evidence, as far as sports and competitions are concerned.
Athletics in the following centuries
The international governing body of athletics, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), was founded in 1912.
The revival and spread of athletics in the modern era became a fact at the end of the 19th century, also thanks to full regulation.
In 1817 the first athletic club was founded in Necton, England. But it was the English Thomas Arnold, in 1828, who restored some exercises practiced in antiquity and established the technical standards. In 1829 in Ireland, games consisting of running, jumping, throwing and pole vaulting were played for the first time. In 1855 the first handbook on racing came out and in 1867 the first athletics track was inaugurated in London.
It was in 1860 that the “Olympic club” was born, the first American athletic club. The first competition for amateur athletes in the United States was held on November 11 of the same year. In 1896 the first edition of the modern Olympics was held in Athens. There was also a distinction between light athletics and heavy athletics.
The revival of the Olympic Games gave a further boost to the resumption of athletics: it has since gained in popularity; increase also determined by a new fact for athletics, that is female participation in competitions after centuries of almost absolute exclusion from sports life.
Athletics is currently one of the main disciplines at the Olympics.
We remember the famous Usain-Bolt, the man who carries the world record.
Men and women compete in separate competitions and for some years, especially in large international competitions, the women’s program is identical to that of men.
It includes all those specialties that involve a race with or without obstacles that takes place entirely on the track: Speed, Middle distance, Cross-country, Obstacles, Hedges, Relays: 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m.
Long distance races
Races conducted on the road, but often with the final on the track. Common distances are the half marathon, the marathon or the ultramarathon.
The march is the competitive form of walking, pushed to the maximum speed compatible with the obligation to always keep one foot in contact with the ground and the support limb fully extended.
Launches: Shot put, Discus throw, Javelin throw, Hammer throw
Elevation jumps: Pole vault, High jump
Extension jumps: Long jump, Triple jump
Multiple test: Heptathlon for women, Decathlon for men.
Main rules of the various specialities
Runs 100 – 200 – 400 meters:
Each athlete is assigned a lane from which he cannot exit, obtaining advantages or hindering the opponents, up to the finish line.Athletes cannot in any way touch or hinder each other.
Any athlete who starts from the starting blocks before the shot or within a tenth of a second from it makes a false start and is disqualified.In races of 200 and 400 meters, since they also take place in curves, the most advanced start of a few meters compared to the innermost lanes is assigned to the outermost lanes so that each athlete can cover an equal distance regardless of the lane in which they are find.
800 meters run:
The 800-meter race takes place over 2 laps of the track; each competitor must remain in the assigned lane for the first 100 meters, after the first corner each athlete can leave the assigned lane (athletes tend to move to the first lane, i.e. the one that allows you to do the least distance possible being the one more internal to the track).
The regulation for false starts is the same as for fast running races.
Long jump and triple Jump:
Each athlete must jump before and no further than the take-off line. The winner is the athlete who runs a greater distance from the take-off line to the mark left on the sand; of all the jumps that the athlete makes, only the longest one is considered. Each athlete has three jumps available, plus three so-called “final” jumps for the athletes who obtained the greatest distance in the “qualification” jumps.Each athlete can make his jump within one minute from the start of his jumping round. Each jump is measured from the take-off line to the landing point closest to this.
High jump and pole vault:
Each athlete must jump after a run and cross a bar placed between two uprights without letting it fall. The winner is the athlete who has obtained the greater measure; in the event of a tie, the various errors committed by the athletes during the race are counted.Each athlete has 3 jumping attempts available for each measure. Each time all the athletes have passed a measure (or have missed the three attempts and are therefore eliminated), the next measure is passed.Each athlete can make his jump within one minute from the start of his jumping round.
Discus throw, hammer throw and shot put:
Each athlete must throw within a circular platform without going beyond its circumference.The thrown apparatus must fall within a sector between two straps that start from the center of the platform and open at a certain angle; otherwise the roll is considered void.Each athlete has 3 jumps at his disposal, plus three so-called “final” jumps for the athletes who obtained the greatest measure in the “qualification” jumps.
The winner is the athlete who throws at a greater distance from the launch pad; among all the jumps that the athlete makes is considered only the farthest that he makes. Each athlete can make his throw within one minute from the start of his throwing round.Each throw is measured from the landing point of the apparatus to the outer edge of the platform closest to the landing point.
Javelin throw :
Each athlete must launch following a run-up within a straight platform without crossing the null line. The point of the thrown javelin must fall within a sector between two straps that start from a precise point inside the platform and open at a certain angle; otherwise, the roll is considered void.
The throw is void even if the javelin lands from the tail rather than the tip.Each athlete has 3 jumps at his disposal, plus three so-called “final” jumps for the athletes who obtained the greatest measure in the “qualification” jumps. The winner is the athlete who throws at a greater distance from the launch pad; among all the jumps that the athlete makes is considered only the farthest that he makes. Each athlete can make his throw within one minute from the start of his throwing round. Each throw is measured from the landing point of the tool tip to the outer edge of the platform closest to the landing point.
As we have seen, athletics has a long and troubled history, but it is still followed by thousands of people today.
It is a very rigid and demanding sport, like all sports, but which, based on effort and sacrifice, can give you a lot of satisfaction.
It is made up, as you can read in this article, of many rules and many nuances of athletics:
- 800 meter race;
- high jump and pole vault;
- Races 100 – 200 – 400 meters;
- Discus throw, hammer throw and shot put.
These are just some of the possibilities offered by athletics.