Track and Field’s Origination

May 19, 2009
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Did you know that track was first called athletics? The name was originated from the Greek word, athlos meaning contest. Did you also know that people have been running, walking, and throwing things since the first man was on Earth? Talk about early. They didn’t start athletics things professionally until 776 BC in Ancient Rome. This is where it is most popular, including Ancient Greece.

The ancient Olympics began in 776BC when Koroibos won the stadium foot race 600 feet long in Ancient Rome. Track or athletic events were usually held in religious festivals. The events were for the men only. The women could not participate. This carried on for a few centuries. What a shame that they didn’t let women run with the men. I’m sure the men weren’t afraid of a little competition.

When track and field first started in the U.S it was in the 1860’s. The IAAAA or The Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America the nation’s first athletic group, held the first collegiate races in 1873 and in 1888. Since then track is one of the most popular sports in High School. I am so running track in high school. Especially since the sport is really popular in high school. Since then track and field is so popular. Thousands of students every year participate in the events. This is encouraging me even more to join when I go to high school.

The rules of athletics or track and field became different during modern times. In the U.S. track and field became more modern and more popular. Their first modern game was the Olympic Games in 1896. At this time track and field was considered a part time sport because they thought they were amateurs. If they won they couldn’t accept money or cash prizes. This is why they had to watch their amateur status. Some were even banned for life. Imagine running all your life and then getting banned because you accepted prizes. That must feel horrible. I surely am happy that it can’t happen to me if I ran.

Have you ever seen somebody run so fast and look stylish at the same time? If you have then you know that I am talking about Florence Griffith-Joyner aka Flo Jo. Flo Jo was born in Los Angeles. She became a popular figure because of her record-setting performances and unique personal style. Flo Jo holds the world records for the 100 and 200m. Most of the attention that she gets is because of her long colorful fingernails and unique uniforms. Have you ever seen a women running in tights before? I don’t think so.

I want to know something. I want to know if you have ever heard of Michael Johnson. Michael was born in Dallas, Texas in September of 1967. Even though he is retired he still holds the record of running the fastest for 400 and 200m. His 200m stood at a 19.32 seconds in the Atlanta Olympics for over 12 years as a record. Johnson was popular for his unique running style. His upright stiff stance, short steps and high knee lift was how he kept his maximum speed. Johnson has nine gold medals at World Championships which is the most in history. I can’t believe that he has nine gold medals. He was really serious about his running.

I can’t believe track has gone through so much to get this far. First ancient Rome and Greece, then modernization happened. Now it is like this. I really can’t believe that we have all those famous people and not amateurs like before. Now they are allowed to get cash prizes if they win. It sure has evolved from the past.





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