The results of racing events are decided by finishing position (or time, where measured), while the jumps and throws are won by the athlete that achieves the highest or furthest measurement from a series of attempts. The simplicity of the competitions, and the lack of a need for expensive equipment, makes athletics one of the most commonly competed sports in the world. Athletics is mostly an individual sport, with the exception of relay races and competitions which combine athletes' performances for a team score, such as cross country.
The word athletics is derived from the Ancient Greekἀθλητής (athlētēs, "combatant in public games") from ἆθλον (athlon, "prize") or ἆθλος (athlos, "competition"). Initially, the term was used to describe athletic contests in general – i.e. sporting competition based primarily on human physical feats. In the 19th century, the term athletics acquired a more narrow definition in Europe and came to describe sports involving competitive running, walking, jumping and throwing. This definition continues to be the most prominent one in the United Kingdom and most of the areas of the former British Empire. Furthermore, foreign words in many Germanic and Romance languages which are related to the term athletics also have a similar meaning.
In much of North America, athletics is synonymous with sports in general, maintaining a more historical usage of the term. The word "athletics" is rarely used to refer to the sport of athletics in this region. Track and field is preferred, and is used in the United States and Canada to refer to most athletics events, including racewalking and marathon running (although cross country running is typically considered as a separate sport).
It's from the first edition (1896 Summer Olympics), that Athletics has been considered the "Queen" of the Olympics. Since then there have been a series of competitions organized at world level, than at the continental level. Furthermore, the Athletics is the main sport of nearly all multi-sport events such as Universiade, Mediterranean Games or Pan American Games. The following list refers to the main Athletics competitions that take place in the world.
The New York City Marathon (branded ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is a major annual marathon (42.195 km or 26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 45,103 finishers in 2010. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors. The race is organized by New York Road Runners (NYRR) and has been run every year since 1970. In recent years, it has been sponsored by the financial group ING. It is held on the first Sunday of November and attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is chosen largely by a lottery system. Runners who are members of NYRR can gain entry by meeting the qualifications for guaranteed entry or via nomination from an official running club.
Paavo Johannes Nurmi (pronunciation (help·info)) (13 June 1897 – 2 October 1973) was a Finnishrunner. Born in Turku, he was known as one of the "Flying Finns," a term given to him, Hannes Kolehmainen, Ville Ritola, and others for their distinction in running. During the 1920s, Nurmi was the best middle and long distance runner in the world, setting world records at distances between 1500 m and 20 km. Nurmi won a total of nine gold and three silver medals in the 12 events in which he competed at the Olympic Games from 1920 to 1928. In particular, he won five gold medals at the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris, becoming the most successful athlete in a single Olympic event in the history. In 1932, Nurmi was unable to compete at the Olympics, as he had received money for his running and was thus considered a professional. Nurmi debuted at the 1920 Summer Olympics by competing in four events. He won three gold medals: the 10,000 m, the cross country event, and the cross country team event; and he finished second in the 5000 m. In the 1924, Nurmi won five gold medals in five events, including the 1500 m and the 5000 m. The finals of the two races were only 26 minutes apart. At a try-out earlier the same year, he had broken the world record in both of these events and the 3000 m team race, and again both cross country events. It was the last time these cross country events were held, as the great heat caused more than half of the competitors to abandon the race, and many had to be taken to hospital. Nurmi ended his Olympic career at the 1928 Summer Olympics, winning the 10,000 m and two silver medals (5000 m and 3000 m steeplechase).
... that Charlie Fonville broke a 14-year-old shot put world record by almost twelve inches at the 1948 Kansas Relays but was not allowed to stay with the other athletes because he was African-American?