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800 meter run
Pole vault
Javelin throw

The Athletics has since time immemorial natural and basic human motions of running , jumping and throwing steered into solid lanes of the sport and made by an extensive set of rules, individual performance exactly comparable and measurable. It is the godfather for the motto “ Faster, higher, further ” and, with its disciplines, forms the heart of the Olympic Games . The endurance run in particular has gained popular sporting importance beyond the performance requirement .


Athletics is an individual sport . For competitive athletes , the focus is on personal performance. The competition is about the best performance that decides on victory and placement. But surpassing a certain absolute performance can also be a goal, for example if this involves setting a record or a personal best or qualifying for a higher-quality event.

The measurement of performance and all boundary conditions to be met for the recognition of a performance are precisely defined in the International Competition Rules (IWR) for all disciplines of athletics. The achievements are therefore comparable worldwide.

As a team sport , athletics only shows itself in the relay race. Team ratings at certain events cannot hide this, as they often only represent the sum of the individual performances assessed. Typical examples of this are a medal table or a total of points achieved based on the placements of a country team. In Germany, the DLV has been trying since 2011 to give children's athletics (age group U12) a team character in order to increase the attractiveness of the sport. Naturally, the focus is on relay competitions, such as the pendulum relay, and comparable boundary conditions and exact performance assessment are largely dispensed with.

Like many other sports, athletics follows an annual cycle. A typical course begins with a long preparation time in winter, during which indoor competitions or cross-country runs are occasionally held. The summer half of the year is the actual competition season, which is also the peak of the season. The year ends with a one-month break around October.

As a popular sport , athletics can be found in the variety of running, jumping and throwing, especially in school sport and when acquiring the sports badge . The area of ​​long-distance running has also become a popular sport that is practiced all year round and brings runners together in running meetings and fun running events . Also walking as wide sporty version of walking is becoming increasingly popular and is integrated into many popular running events.

Athletics as a team sport . In contrast to the individual competition, the ability to work in a team is required here in order to achieve a promising competition result (sum of the individual performances). This means that in athletics, too, you have to have the ability to work in a team in order to work successfully in a group. Since the team scoring is in the foreground, the athlete must pay attention to the failed attempt rules in order to avoid a scoring with "zero points" ("Salto Nullo" for example in the pole vault) for the team. In the running competitions, particular attention must be paid to the false start rules. Individual interests in achieving a better individual performance prevent a better team result in the event of failure.

Name origin

The name of athletics originally comes from the ancient Greek language of αθλητής athlētēs , which means "competitor" (see also athlete ). In Germany, the German gymnastics association spoke of “folk exercises” or “folk gymnastics ”. With the arrival of increased competition orientation, the English word "athletics" found its way into German usage in order to deliberately differentiate itself from popular gymnastics. Accordingly, the German Sports Authority for Athletics was founded in 1898 . In addition to today's athletics, the term athletics was also used for heavy athletes and strength athletes . "This dual track of 'athletic' sport resulted in the imperative need for conceptual differentiation", Hajo Bernett reflected in 1987.

Austria and Italy changed the names of their sports associations, and Germany followed suit in 1904. From 1921 the German association was called the German Sports Authority for Athletics , since 1933 it has been called the Athletics Association . The name of athletics did not only find advocates, Carl Diem commented on the choice of term: “It is not beautiful. The people have shaped it. ”Internationally, the addition of“ light ”has not caught on, although there are equivalents for this designation in some languages.



The disciplines of athletics are divided into the groups running , jumping and throwing. All-around competitions consist of several disciplines, with all three groups involved.

Overview of the usual disciplines today (Olympic disciplines in bold; F = women only; M = men only):

Run Leap Litter All-around
  sprint   Middle distance Long haul Season obstacles obstacle Road / terrain Go vertical horizontal
100 m
200 m
400 m
1 mile
3000 m
5000 m
10,000 m
1 hour
4 × 100 m
4 × 400 m
3 × 800 m (F)
3 × 1000 m (M)
100 m  (F)
110 m  (M)
400 m
3000 m 10 km
half marathon
100 km
cross-country run
Going by train
20 km
50 km
High jump
pole vault
Long jump
triple jump
Shot put
throw hammer throw
javelin throw
Heptathlon  (F)
Decathlon  (M)

For the running disciplines, the lengths of the track competitions are given in meters and those of the road competitions in kilometers. In road running, the length of the route usually varies between around three and twelve kilometers, depending on the local conditions, and some of the running routes also run on good unpaved roads. Cross-country races take place with similar route lengths, but in the terrain more or less away from paths and typically only in the winter months.

Disciplines of schoolchildren, youth and senior citizens

The running and throwing disciplines are adapted according to the increasing performance of pupils and young people with age and the decreasing performance of senior citizens. Depending on the age group, the sprint routes can be shortened to 50 or 75 instead of 100 meters and 300 instead of 400 meters. The long distance is sometimes only over 2000 meters, the hurdles over 60 or 80 meters, the obstacle course over 1500 or 2000 meters and the road run over 5 kilometers. In the hurdle run, the height of the hurdles is also reduced. The equipment weights are adjusted in all throwing disciplines. The ball throwing is an independent throwing discipline exclusively for the school classes . The weight throw, however, is reserved for senior classes. All-around competitions are carried out in other combinations with fewer disciplines, for example three-way combat . In the long jump , the distance achieved by the children is not measured from the take-off bar, but from the exact take-off point within a zone. Particularly demanding disciplines, such as obstacle course, triple jump, pole vault or hammer throw, are only offered from a minimum age of 12 or 16 years.

The age groups change annually up to the age of 15, with older youths as well as in team competitions such as relay races or team all-around competitions, two years are grouped together. Seniors from the age of 30 are divided into five-year groups. It should be noted that in athletics it is not the actual age but the year of birth that is decisive. This means that a young person whose birthday is on January 1st is in the same age group as someone who doesn't celebrate his birthday until December 31st this year.

Indoor disciplines

In sports halls, there is usually a 60-meter-long track (plus run-out) available for the sprint routes run on the straight. The length of the sprint and hurdles sprint courses is therefore limited to 60 meters. Longer hurdles and obstacle runs cannot be held on the normally 200 meter long circular track. The long-distance runs reach up to 5000 meters. Relay competitions are also held on the circular track.

Apart from the shot put, throwing disciplines in the hall are usually not possible. They are therefore omitted in all-around competitions, so that only a heptathlon is carried out for men and a pentathlon for women.

Former disciplines

In the past there were other disciplines that are no longer or only very seldom held in competitions today. This includes other walking distances, such as B. the long-distance run over 7500 m, the hurdle sprint over 200 m or the men's relay of 4 × 1500 m. Furthermore, relay races with different lengths are to be mentioned for the individual relay runners, such as B. the Swedish relay (400 - 300 - 200 - 100 m) or the Olympic relay (400 - 200 - 200 - 800 m). In the throwing disciplines there used to be another throwing device, the sling ball . Until the 1920s, the throwing devices spear, discus and ball, which are still in use today, were also used to throw or push with both hands. The athlete threw one of the devices first with one hand, then with the other hand and both distances were added. In the jumping area, competitions were also held in the standing long jump - i.e. without a run-up. Today there is the standing long jump only in the older age groups in senior sport.

Athletics disciplines in comparison

Speeds in rail and road disciplines

Comparison of the world records of the Olympic disciplines :

discipline Distance (m) World record m / s km / h
100 m 100 9.58 s 10.44 37.58
200 m 200 19.19 s 10.42 37.52
400 m 400 43.03 s 9.30 33.47
800 m 800 1: 40.91 min 7.93 28.54
1500 m 1500 3: 26.00 min 7.28 26.21
1 mile 1609 3: 43.13 min 7.21 25.96
5000 m 5000 12: 37.35 min 6.60 23.77
10,000 m 10,000 26: 17.53 min 6.34 22.82
marathon 42,195 2:01:39 h 5.78 20.82
20 km walk 20,000 1:17:16 h 4.31 15.53
50 km walk 50,000 3:34:14 h 3.89 14.00
110 m hurdles 110 12.80 s 8.59 30.94
400 m hurdles 400 46.78 s 8.55 30.78
3000 m obstacle 3000 7: 53.63 min 6.33 22.80
4 × 100 m 400 36.84 s 10.86 39.09
4 × 400 m 1600 2: 54.29 min 9.18 33.05
discipline Distance (m) World record m / s km / h
100 m 100 10.49 s 9.53 34.32
200 m 200 21.34 s 9.37 33.74
400 m 400 47.60 s 8.40 30.25
800 m 800 1: 53.28 min 7.06 25.42
1500 m 1500 3: 50.46 min 6.51 23.43
1 mile 1609 4: 12.56 min 6.37 22.93
5000 m 5000 14: 11.15 min 5.87 21.15
10,000 m 10,000 29: 31.78 min 5.64 20.32
marathon 42,195 2:15:25 h 5.19 18.70
20 km walk 20,000 1:25:08 h 3.92 14.10
- - - - -
100 m hurdles 100 12.21 s 8.19 29.48
400 m hurdles 400 52.34 s 7.64 27.51
3000 m obstacle 3000 8: 58.81 min 5.57 20.04
4 × 100 m 400 40.82 s 9.80 35.28
4 × 400 m 1600 3: 15.17 min 8.20 29.51

Differences between male and female performance

15 of the 24 Olympic disciplines allow a direct comparison between men and women. The remaining conditions have different conditions - in the hurdle and obstacle course through different heights of hurdles and obstacles and in the throwing disciplines through different weights of the competition equipment. When comparing the world records, women achieve around 90 percent of men's performance in the rail and road disciplines, and around 82 to 85 percent of men's performance in the jumping disciplines.

Comparison of world record performances (as of June 19, 2016)
discipline Men Women Women: Percentage of
men's performance
100 m 09.58 s 10.49 s 91.3%
200 m 19.19 s 21.34 s 89.9%
400 m 43.03 s 47.60 s 90.7%
800 m 01: 40.91 min 01: 53.28 min 89.1%
1500 m 03: 26.00 min 03: 50.07 min 89.5%
5000 m 12: 37.35 min 14: 11.15 min 89.0%
10,000 m 26: 17.53 min 29: 31.78 min 89.0%
marathon 2:02:57 h 2:15:25 h 89.3%
20 km walk 1:17:16 h 1:25:08 h 90.8%
4 × 100 m 37.04 s 41.37 s 89.5%
4 × 400 m 2: 54.29 min 3: 15.17 min 89.3%
high jump 02.45 m 02.09 m 85.3%
Pole vault 06.16 m 05.06 m 82.1%
Long jump 08.95 m 07.52 m 84.0%
Triple jump 18.29 m 15.50 m 84.7%

Throwing disciplines

Throwing disciplines in athletics in comparison
Shot put Discus throw Hammer throw Javelin throw
Machine weight, men 7.26 kg 2.0 kg 7.26 kg 800 g
Device weight, women 4.0 kg 1.0 kg 4.0 kg 600 g
Competition facility Circle: 2.135 m Circle: 2.50 m Circle: 2.135 m Approach: 30 to 36.5 m
Optimal departure angle * 38-40 ° 35-37 ° 44 ° 34-36 °
Take-off speed
( two distances as an example )
15.5 m: 11.5 m / s
21.5 m: 13.8 m / s
54 m: 22 m / s
65 m: 24 m / s
55 m: 23 m / s
85 m: 29 m / s
78 m: 28 m / s
95 m: 32 m / s

* When throwing a discus or a javelin, a smaller angle in a headwind, a higher angle in a tailwind


The track and field training is very versatile and can be adapted to the individual strengths of the individual athlete. The school classes usually begin with the all-around competition, i.e. with the training of many disciplines. If clear strengths then develop in adolescence, training is more and more discipline-specific, otherwise the "supreme discipline", the decathlon or heptathlon, can be the first choice.

Training includes elements such as running training, coordination , general strengthening, technique training , endurance training , sprints and jumping runs, as well as specific strength training .

Strength, endurance, speed, coordination and technique are important for all disciplines, but in different proportions and extents. In terms of training method, the respective training components should primarily be based on the age and individual athletic experience of the athlete.

The training generally takes place all year round in the open air, ideally in an athletics stadium or sports field with the necessary facilities. At the same time, in the winter months, training takes place in closed sports halls and sports arenas, as well as in fitness studios and weight rooms. Successful training is organized according to the criteria of the periodization of sports training and often takes place as block training . The focus of training theories has changed again and again.


Course of the competition

In large, especially international competitions, a qualification round with a maximum of three attempts takes place in technical disciplines (jump, push, throw). In order to keep the waiting times between attempts short, sometimes two qualifying rounds take place in parallel on different competition facilities. Anyone who exceeds the distance specified by the organizer will advance to the final round, which usually takes place on a different day. Anyone who has not reached the required distance is eliminated from the competition. If fewer athletes than the specified number of participants make the qualification distance for the final battle, athletes with a smaller distance can reach the final battle in the advancement process. In the final round, each participant initially has three attempts. The order for this is drawn by lot. For the next three attempts, only the eight best in the final round will be admitted. The fourth and fifth attempts usually take place in the reverse order of the placements after the first three attempts, i.e. H. the best last. In the last attempt, the order of placement is adjusted again so that the best up to that point has the last jump or throw of the competition.

In the all- around ( heptathlon , decathlon ), three attempts are planned for the jumping and throwing disciplines. There are no preliminary fights here.

In the short-distance running disciplines (100 to 800 m), depending on the size of the field of participants, preliminary, intermediate and final runs are held. The same procedure is used for relay races. There are prelims and finals in the middle distances. In the case of large fields of participants (e.g. Olympic Games), prelims are also held on the long distances (5000 and 10,000 m). Usually the first, sometimes the first two or three of a finals qualify for the next round, the other participants are based on the times achieved in all the heats. So that the fastest athletes do not already meet in the heats, the allocation to the races is made on the basis of the previously reported season best, or in the case of intermediate laps according to the times in the preliminary run. For example, if there are four heats, the runner with the best reported performance starts in one run, the runner with the second best performance in another run, etc.


In competitions, different age and performance classes are differentiated depending on the regulations :

The IAAF World Athletics Federation has the following age groups (IAAF rule 141):

  • Youths (boys and girls): athletes who are 16 or 17 years old on December 31 of the competition year
  • Juniors (men and women): Athletes who are 18 or 19 years old on December 31 of the competition year
  • Seniors (men and women): from the 35th birthday

The German Athletics Association (DLV) has the following age groups:

  • Seniors (valid since 2012: age groups from M35, W35; at state level from M30, W30)
  • Active
  • Juniors (20, 21 and 22)
  • Youth U20 (18 and 19, former wJA / mJA)
  • Youth U18 (16 and 17, former wJB / mJB)
  • Youth U16 (W14, W15 / M14, M15)
  • Youth U14 (W12, W13 / M12, M13)
  • Children U12 (W10, W11 / M10, M11)
  • Children U10 (W8, W9 / M8, M9)

Senior classes are further subdivided into 5-year steps. If the competition is not specifically advertised, juniors and seniors are assigned to the active participants. Competitors younger than eight years old are no longer permitted to participate in the DLV area, except in the special team competitions for children's athletics. In the school classes, each year is evaluated separately, but the division into two-year blocks applies to team competitions and relays as well as to the competition organization.

The Austrian Athletics Association has had the following age groups since 2005 (the former name in square brackets):

  • Masters (age groups from M30, W30) [formerly Seniors]
  • General class
  • U23 (20, 21, 22)
  • U20 (18, 19) [formerly Juniors]
  • U18 (16, 17) [formerly Youth]
  • U16 (14, 15) [formerly Student A]
  • U14 (12, 13) [formerly Pupil B]
  • U12, U10 etc. [formerly SCH C, D etc.]

There are championships for U16, U18, U20, U23, age groups and seniors. As in Germany, U23s and seniors are counted in the general class, unless they are specifically mentioned in the announcement.

Competition venues

Athletics competitions take place in a stadium or in a hall, walking competitions and very long running competitions on streets, cross-country runs in open terrain or in the forest. Athletics facilities with a circular track combined with a large playing field are called a stadium or a competition track . A distinction is made between the competition tracks or competition systems type A, type B and type C.

Stadiums have a standardized, oval 400-meter running track, also known as a circular track. At the early Olympic Games , different track lengths were used: 1896 (Athens) - 333.33 meters; 1900 (Paris) - 500 meters; 1904 (St. Louis) - 536.45 meters (one third of a mile ); 1908 (London) - 536.45 meters; 1912 (Stockholm) - 383 meters; 1924 (Paris) - 500 meters. Since 1960, records in the running disciplines have only been recognized by the IAAF if they were set on a 400-meter track.

The circular track usually has six tracks, eight or nine in larger stadiums (Barcelona, type A competition facility ).

In athletics halls , the lengths of the circular tracks vary from location to location, and records are only recognized on 200-meter tracks. As a rule, there are four individual lanes, in some halls (e.g. Dortmund, Leipzig, Birmingham, Budapest) six.

Running competitions are almost exclusively held on synthetic surfaces (tartan or mondo), which were introduced in the mid-1960s. The same applies to the run-up lanes for long jump, pole vault and javelin throw as well as to the high jump run-up area. The impact sectors are mostly lawns .

The jumping and throwing competitions are usually held on the segment areas that are bounded by the running track (circular track). High and pole vaults are carried out on the segment areas inside the circular track, the long jump mostly outside the track next to the straight lines. The required throwing and pushing circles as well as the run-up track for the javelin throw are also located in these segments, which then take place on the lawn. In order not to endanger runners and jumpers from throwing training, there are separate throwing areas outside the stadium in some places. These are also used in competitions that do not have a large audience.

In the segment facing away from the goal is the moat for the 3000 meter obstacle course . It is usually located inside the track, but can also be on the outside, for example at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow .

The Mercedes-Benz Arena , Stuttgart

Track and field facilities for the sports disciplines walking, running, jumping, throwing and pushing are divided into

  • Tracks (circular track, short-distance track, obstacle track with water ditch)
  • Jump facilities (high jump facility, pole vault facility, long and triple jump facility)
  • Shot put system with kick circle and kick sector
  • Throwing systems (discus throwing system and hammer throwing system with throwing circle, throwing sector and protective net / grille (often combined), javelin throwing system)

In Germany , the most important athletics stadiums are also used for football games, for example in the Berlin Olympic Stadium , in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart (until 2009) and, until the Allianz Arena opens , in the Munich Olympic Stadium . Until 1978, important international athletics competitions were also held in the Augsburg Rosenaustadion .

The Augsburg Rosenaustadion

There is a tendency to specialize in just one sport, which leads to the abandonment of athletics facilities in most of the large, newly built stadiums. The new (soccer) stadiums in Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, Munich and Frankfurt (all of which have hosted German championships in the last 20 years) no longer have a career today (Stuttgart since 2009).

Competition tracks and systems for school sports are usually planned by appropriately specialized landscape architects, taking into account the rules of technology (including DIN 18035 sports fields), the international competition rules of the IAAF and the information aids of the Federal Institute for Sports Science .

Competitions in Germany

In Germany , several large meetings take place. Competitions of great international importance are held in Berlin and Stuttgart . In addition, the entire German top class starts at the German championships every year .

In addition to the few top-level championships, the mass of athletes is measured by disciplines (all-around, throwers), groups (team, team), age groups (senior citizens, students), regionally staggered (state, regional, district, city -) championships or at sports festivals and individual events.

International competitions

Traditionally, American and Jamaican athletes dominate the sprint courses , while the medium and long distances are dominated by African runners. In the throwing and jumping disciplines, the lists of winners are less homogeneous. Overall, the most successful nations in international competitions are the USA , Russia (or USSR ) and Germany (or GDR ).

Olympic games

Some athletics disciplines were already practiced at the ancient Olympic Games . Since the beginning of the modern games in Athens in 1896, athletics has been a central component of the Olympic competition program alongside swimming and is therefore also referred to as the core Olympic sport . Before 1983, the Games were the only occasion when athletes from different continents could compete for titles in the Olympic disciplines.

At the Olympic Games, a total of 47 decisions are held in 24 athletic disciplines - 24 for men and 23 for women. Women were initially allowed to compete in five athletics disciplines at the 1928 Olympic Games (100 m, 800 m, high jump, discus throw, 4 × 100 m relay). The running routes were gradually adapted to those of the men.

Overview of the Olympic athletics disciplines:

discipline Olympic competition since Forerunner of today's discipline
 Men Women
Run 100 m 1896 1928
200 m 1900 1948
400 m 1896 1964
800 m 1896 1928; thereafter only
since 1960
1500 m 1896 1972
5000 m 1912 1996 Women, 1984 to 1992: 3000 m
10,000 m 1912 1988 Men, 1906 and 1908: 5 miles = 8047 m
marathon 1896 1984
20 km walk 1956 2000 Men, 1908-1952, and women, 1992-1996: 10 km walk
50 km walk 1932 -
110 m hurdles 1896 -
100 m hurdles - 1972 Women: 1932 to 1968: 80 m hurdles
400 m hurdles 1900 1984
3000 m obstacle 1920 2008 Men: from 1900 to 1908 different route lengths
4 × 100 m relay 1912 1928
4 × 400 m relay 1912 1972
Leap high jump 1896 1928
Pole vault 1896 2000
Long jump 1896 1948
Triple jump 1896 1996
Litter Shot put 1896 1948
Discus throw 1896 1928
Hammer throw 1900 2000
Javelin throw 1908 1932
Decathlon 1896 -
Heptathlon - 1984 Women, 1964 to 1980: pentathlon

Former Olympic disciplines that are no longer held today:


  • Running competitions
    • Sprint distances: 60 m (1900, 1904)
    • Long distance: 5 miles (1906 and 1908)
    • Hurdle race: 200 m (1900 and 1904)
    • Obstacle course: 2500 m (1900), 2590 m (1904), 3200 m (1908), 4000 m (1900)
    • Team run: 3000 m (1912, 1920, 1924), 5000 m (1900), 3 miles (1908), 4 miles (1904)
    • Relay race: Olympic relay (1908), 4 × 1600 m run (1908)
    • Cross-country running: individual (1912 to 1924), team (1912 to 1924)
    • Walking: 1500 m (1906), 3000 m (1906, 1920), 3500 m (1908), 10 km (1908 to 1952), 10 miles (1908)
  • Jumping competitions
  • Throwing competitions
    • Two-armed shot put (1912)
    • Discus throw, antique style (1906 and 1908)
    • Discus throw, two-armed (1912)
    • Weight throw (1904, 1920)
    • Javelin throw, freestyle (1906 and 1908)
    • Two-armed javelin throw (1912)
    • Stone's Throw (1906)
  • All-around
    • Triathlon
    • Pentathlon (1906 to 1924)
    • Eventing decathlon (1904)
  • Tug of war


World championships

Since 1983 World Athletics Championships with the complete Olympic competition program have been held every four years and since 1991 every two years. Previously there were world championships in Malmö in 1976 and in Sittard / NL in 1980 . At these championships, however, only competitions in individual disciplines were held (1976: 50 km for men; 1980: 3000 m and 400 m hurdles for women), as these were not part of the Olympic program at the time. The IAAF organizes further title fights for certain age groups as well as for non-Olympic discipline groups. The main events are the

European championships

The European Athletics Championships have been around much longer than the World Championships. From 1934 to 1966, with an interruption to the war, they were always held at the “half-time” of an Olympics . After deviations (1969, 1971), this four-year rhythm prevailed again from 1974 to 2010. Since 2012, European championships have also been held in the Olympic years, so they are held every two years.

In addition, there are counterparts for almost all of the aforementioned special world championships in the form of further European championships. They take place in the years in which the corresponding world championships, which are only held every two years, do not take place. The most important European championships for young athletes are

World and European Cup

This is what the title competitions of the national teams are called, in which the team performance is awarded as the sum of the individual performances from all discipline competitions. In contrast to other sports, however, they are not series, but individual events. The World Cup took place from 1977 to 1989 and every four years since 1992. A special feature of the World Cup as a result of its tightening in time (duration: two days) and the associated restriction to eight participants per discipline is the nomination of continental teams in addition to a few national teams. In team sports, too, the continental variant is older than its global counterpart. The European Cup has existed since 1965. It took place almost always until 1993 (1970 instead of 1969 and 1971) every two years and then annually. In 2009 the European Cup was renamed the European Team Championship and since then has the status of an official European Championship. Not all Olympic disciplines can be considered in the World and European Cup. In the multi-event, marathon and walking discipline groups, which are characterized by longer competitions, and in other non-Olympic disciplines, separate team evaluations are carried out. In detail these are:

  • Indoor European Cup (since 2003)
  • All-around European Cup (since 1973, the same years as the European Cup)
  • Walker World Cup (1961–1967, 1973–1999 and since 2002 every two years, also 1970)
  • Walker European Cup (1996–2000 and every two years since 2001)
  • Mountain Running World Trophy (since 1985, annually)
  • 100 km World Cup (since 1988, annually since 1990)

Golden League

The IAAF Golden League was a series of six prestigious athletics meetings held from 1998 to 2009. If an athlete won the competition in his discipline at all six meetings, he could take part in the jackpot of one million US dollars in gold and received a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine.

Diamond League

From 2010 the Golden League will be replaced by the IAAF Diamond League , a series of 14 meetings. There is a four-carat diamond worth around $ 80,000 to win in each of the 32 disciplines .

World records

The World Athletics Federation IAAF holds 186 world records, which are distributed as follows:

  • Olympic disciplines
    24 men's world records
    23 women's world records
  • Non-Olympic disciplines
    23 men's world records
    21 women's world records
  • Juniors
    26 men's world records
    26 women's world records
  • Indoor world records
    22 men's world records
    22 women's world records

List of current world records: See World Athletics Records


Doping is an issue especially in strength and endurance sports. The more technique and concentration are part of the success, the less the success can be influenced by performance-enhancing agents. In athletics, the shot put and the running disciplines are particularly susceptible to doping.

In top sport in athletics, world champions and gold medalists of doping are convicted time and again, for example Ben Johnson or Torri Edwards . In the times of the Cold War , doping was systematically carried out in East and West, especially in the GDR competitive sport , where the athletes were sometimes administered doping substances organized by the state without their own knowledge . This also affected athletics. A sad consequence of the doping practice in the Federal Republic of Germany was the death of the Federal German heptathlete Birgit Dressel in 1987 .

In 2003 it became known in the USA that the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) was intensively dealing with doping substances and supplying coaches and athletes. In the course of the so-called BALCO affair , u. a. Marion Jones , winner of five medals at the 2000 Olympic Games (which were subsequently withdrawn from her), weighed heavily.

In November 2015, it became known that former IAAF President Diack and his lawyer would be charged in Paris. They are said to have installed a system of blackmail in which they made positive doping results disappear against payment. In the same month, the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) was temporarily suspended by the IAAF Council. The association is therefore not allowed to send athletes to international competitions until further notice and there is a threat of Russian athletes being excluded from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro .

Most successful athletes at the Olympic Games

All athletes with four or more gold medals in the Olympic Games (including the 1906 Intermediate Olympic Games ). See also list of all track and field Olympic champions with two or more gold medals

  1. Ray Ewry : ten gold medals; Standing long jump, standing high jump, triple jump; 1900 to 1908 (including 1906)
  2. Paavo Nurmi : nine gold, three silver; Middle distance running, long distance running, cross country running; 1920 to 1928
  3. Carl Lewis : nine gold, one silver; Long jump, sprint; 1984 to 1996
  4. Usain Bolt : eight golds; Sprint; 2008, 2012 and 2016
  5. Martin Sheridan : five gold, three silver, one bronze; Shot put, discus throw, stone throw, standing long jump, standing high jump; 1904 to 1908 (including 1906)
  6. Ville Ritola : five gold, three silver; Long-distance running, obstacle running, cross-country running; 1924 and 1928
  7. Michael Johnson : five golds; Sprint; 1996 and 2000
  8. Eric Lemming : four gold, three bronze; Javelin throw, all-around; 1900 to 1912 (including 1906)
  9. James Lightbody : four gold, one silver, two bronze; Sprint, middle distance run, obstacle run; 1904 to 1908 (including 1906)
  10. Evelyn Ashford : four gold, one silver; Sprint; 1984 to 1992
  11. Hannes Kolehmainen : four times gold, once silver; Long-distance running, cross-country running; 1912 and 1920
  12. Meyer Prinstein : four times gold, one silver; Long jump, triple jump, sprint; 1900 to 1906
  13. Melvin Sheppard : four gold, one silver; Sprint, middle distance run; 1908 to 1912
  14. Emil Zátopek : four times gold, one silver; Long distance running, marathon; 1948 and 1952
  15. Fanny Blankers-Koen : four gold medals; Sprint, hurdles; 1948
  16. Betty Cuthbert : four golds; Sprint; 1956 and 1960
  17. Robert Korzeniowski : four gold medals; Go; 1996 to 2004
  18. Alvin Kraenzlein : four times gold; Sprint, hurdles, long jump; 1900
  19. Al Oerter : four times gold; Discus; 1956 to 1968
  20. Jesse Owens : four golds; Sprint, long jump; 1936
  21. Lasse Virén : four golds; Long distance running; 1972 and 1976
  22. Bärbel Wöckel : four times gold; Sprint; 1976 and 1980


Athletics clubs in Germany belong to the German Athletics Association (DLV) founded in 1949 . Its predecessor organization, the German Sports Authority for Athletics (DSBfA), was founded on January 29, 1898 in Berlin. The corresponding associations in Austria and Switzerland are the Austrian Athletics Association and the Swiss Athletics Association . The international umbrella organization is the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which was founded in 1912 and which currently has 210 national associations as members. The European umbrella organization is the European Athletic Association (EAA).

See also

Individual evidence

  1. German Athletics Association: "Children's Athletics" competition system
  2. a b c d e f g h i Theo Rous: All in all: swan songs of a functionary - collection of speeches and writings of the honorary president of the German Athletics Association . Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2014, ISBN 978-3-7322-9640-8 , pp. 301–303 ( limited preview in Google Book search). Why is athletics actually easy? , Theo Rous, 23 September 2011.
  3. a b Origin of the word athletics , Tobias Betz, accessed on July 24, 2016.
  4. ^ Hajo Bernett : Athletics in a historical change . Ed .: German Athletics Association. Hofmann, Schorndorf 1987, ISBN 3-7780-3400-6 , p. 292 .
  5. ^ German Athletics Regulations ( Memento from August 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Arnd Krüger : (1998). Many roads lead to Olympia. The changes in the training systems for medium and long distance runners (1850–1997), in: N. GISSEL (Hrsg.): Sportliche Leistungs im Wandel. Hamburg: Czwalina, pp. 41-56.
  7. Interview with Matthias Reick on the new regulations for senior age groups
  8. Diack is charged with corruption , Spiegel Online from November 4, 2015, accessed on November 10, 2015.
  9. Peter Ahrens: Ganz Tief im Sumpf , Spiegel Online from November 9, 2015, accessed on November 10, 2015.
  10. Doping scandal: Russia's Athletics Association suspended at, November 14, 2015 (accessed November 14, 2015).
  11. ^ DLV Museum

Web links

Commons : Athletics  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Athletics  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations




Reading material

Competition rules