History of Athletics

Events

Athletic contests in running, walking, jumping and throwing.

2300 BC

High jump in Ancient Egyptian tombs in Saqarra.

2250 BC

The Tailteann Games (an ancient Celtic festival in Ireland) including running and stone-throwing in the 30 day meet.

1800 BC

Original and only event at the 1st Olympics was a stadium-length running even known as the stadion.

776 BC

Olympics expanded to include throwing and jumping events within the ancient pentathlon. Other athletic competitions were held at the Panehellenic Games.

500 BC

Cotswold Olympic Games (a sports festival) featuring athletics in the form of sledgehammer throwing contests.

1601

Olympiade marked the introduction of the metric system into the sport.

1796

L'Olympiade de la République was held in revolutionary France (an early forerunner to the modern summer Olympic Games).

1796 - 1798

Athletics competition at the Royal Military College in Sandhurt.

1812

Athletics competition at the Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt in Shropshire.

1840

The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich held an organised athletics competition.

1849

A regular series of closed meetings opened only to undergraduates at Exeter College, Oxford.

1850

The annual Wenlock Olympic Games were first held incorporating athletics events into its sports programme.

1850

The first modern-style indoor athletics meeting included a meet at Ashburnham Hall in London which featured 4 running events and a triple jump competition.

1860

The US began holding an annual national athletics competitions - the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, first held by the New York Athletic Club.

1876

Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) established as the 1st NGB of athletics and began holding its own annual competitions (the AAA Championships).

1880

Amateur Athletic Union founded in the US.

1888

Union des sociétés francaises de sports athletiques founded in France.

1889

An athletics competition was included in the first modern Olympic Games (however only men could compete).

1896

Athletics became codified and standardised via the English Amateur Athletics Association and other general sports organisations.

1900

An international governing body, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), was founded.

1912

Women's events were introduced into the Olympic Games.

1928

The 1st organised international competitions for athletes with a physical disability (excluding deafness) when the 1st international Stoke Mandeville Games were organised for WW2 veterans.

1952

Athletics became part of the Paralympic Games.

1960

The first Paralympic Games took place (which expanded to include athletes with amputations, cerebal palsy, visual impairment and wheelchair events).

1960

The IAAF established a separate outdoor World Championships.

1983

The internation governing body adopted its name of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

2001