1. Sports

Track and field's greatest events and top competitors


Track and field's top athletes compete in numerous meets spread across the globe every year, but every competitor aims for the sport's two signature events: the quadrennial Summer Olympic Games, plus the World Outdoor Championships, which are held in odd-numbered years. Many competitors also focus on the World Indoor Championships, which are held in even-numbered years. Read more about these events, and the athletes who compete in them, in the following pages.
  1. Summer Olympic Games
  2. World Championships
  3. Diamond League
  4. Interviews
  5. Sprinter Profiles
  6. Distance Runner Profiles
  1. Jumper Profiles
  2. Thrower Profiles
  3. Hurdler Profiles
  4. Multi-Sport Profiles
  5. World Records

Summer Olympic Games

Track and field events form the heart of the world's largest athletic spectacle. The quadrennial Summer Olympic Games include five sprint or relay races, five distance running events, two hurdles races, two men's race walking events (just one for women), two horizontal jumping events, two vertical jumps and four throwing events plus the 3000-meter steeplechase, the men's decathlon and women's heptathlon.

World Championships

The IAAF World Championships in Athletics, commonly known as the World Outdoor Championships, began in 1983 and were held every four years through 1991, before becoming a bi-annual event, held in odd-numbered years. The first indoor world track and field championship, billed as “The World Indoor Games,” was held in 1985. The initial IAAF-sanctioned World Indoor Championships began two years later. The event was held every other year through 2003. It was then moved to even-numbered years, beginning in 2004, to avoid coinciding with the Outdoor Championships.

Diamond League

The Diamond League replaced the Golden League as track and field's premier series of annual meets in 2010. Designed to promote head-to-head competition among the world's top track and field athletes, the Diamond League awards points to the top three finishers in each event at every meet. The athletes with the most points at the end of the season are crowned as Diamond League champions.


Read exclusive interviews with standout competitors from yesterday and today.

Sprinter Profiles

Profiles of the world's top male and female sprinters.

Distance Runner Profiles

Profiles of the world's top male and female distance runners, including everything from 800-meter middle distance specialists through marathon runners and race walkers.

Jumper Profiles

Profiles of the world's top male and female long jumpers, pole vaulters, high jumpers and triple jumpers.

Thrower Profiles

Profiles of the world's top male and female discus throwers, shot putters, javelin throwers and hammer throwers.

Hurdler Profiles

Profiles of the world's top male and female hurdlers.

Multi-Sport Profiles

Profiles of the world's top decathlon and heptathlon performers.

World Records

Men's and women's world records, as recognized by the IAAF.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.