The History of Athletics

Track and field as we know it today began developing in the 19th century when first competitions in track and field took places. In that time, those track and field competitions primarily were organized by educational institutions, sport clubs and some military organizations. The events organized by these institutions were actually the one that included the hurdle races.

During this period, first national athletics associations have been established and shortly after that first national competitions took place. Among the first associations who organized such competitions was Amateur Athletic Association of England who in 1880 organized the annual AAA Championship. Even before England, the New York Athletic Club from the United States organized the first USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship back in 1876.

One of the biggest milestones for the development of the Athletics came back in 1896 at the Summer Olympic Games. In those Games in Athens, track and field together with a marathon comprised the majority of the sporting events at that Games. In this games for the first time introduced the metric measurement that was used in the track and field competitions.

In 1912, the second milestone in the development of the Athletics occurred when the International Amateur Athletic Federation or IAAF was founded and as such it became the international governing body for track and field. Up until the early 1920’s, track and field was only a male sport. Women became part of the athletics only after women’s sport movement organized Women’s World Games back in 1921.

Women for the first time participated in track and field competitions at the Olympic Games in 1928 Summer Olympic Games. After athletics gained more media coverage the amateur statues of the athletes were dropped in favour of the professionalism. Officially, in 1982, International Amateur Athletic Federation abandoned the notion of amateurism and it became the organization of professional athletes. The first IAAF World Championship in Athletics was held  in 1983 and from that moment, the popularity of athletics and athletes continued to grow and today they are among the most respected athletes in any sport.


Sprints and hurdles Middle and long distance Road running and cross country Horizontal jumps and vertical jumps Short throws and long throws