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A Brief History of Sprints and Hurdles

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Sprint races are the oldest recorded form of athletic competition, dating at least to the Olympic Games of 776 B.C. Some sources indicate that the stade race (approximately 200 meters) was the only event at the first Olympic Games. Eventually, a two-stade race was added.

Hurdles, like many track and field events, were popularized in British competitions in the 19th Century.

The first modern Olympics (for men only) in 1896 included 100- and 400-meter races and a 110-meter hurdles event. The 200-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles were added in 1900, with the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays entering competition in 1912.

Women’s events were added in 1928, including the 100-meter run and the 4 x 100 relay. Further additions included the 80-meter hurdles in 1932 (replaced by the 100 hurdles in 1972), the 200 in 1948, the 400 in 1964, the 4 x 400 relay in 1972 and the 400 hurdles in 1984.

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