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Sports and Athletics Information

Athletics refer to sporting activities requiring physical skill, fitness, and stamina. In North America, the term refers to athletic activities in general, including gymnastics, motorsports, and animal sports. In Europe beginning in the 19th century, the term has acquired a narrower definition; it is used to refer to track-and-field competitions that involve walking, running, and jumping only. Examples are race walking, road running, and cross country running. These athletic events are often associated with the Olympics, but competitions at youth, high school, college, and professional levels are held throughout the year all over the world. 

The Birth of Olympic Games 

The term athletics is derived from the Greek word “athlos,” which means “contest.” Although athletic sports were already cultivated in prehistoric times by Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and some Asian races, it is the Greeks who are credited for starting organized athletics when they created Olympic Games in 1776. In effect, the Greeks have made athletics a popular activity in the Classical Ages and beyond. 

Modern Athletic Events  

Athletics regained popularity with the revival of athletic competitions in the 19th century. Various schools included athletics in their curricula and, in 1896, the first Modern Olympics was held in Athens, Greece. In 1912, national athletic federations from different parts of the world banded together to form the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the international body governing athletic competitions. As of 2011, 50 outdoor and 25 indoor athletic events are subject to the IAAF’s rules and authority. 


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