The History of Track


Origins of Track:

Like all other sports, someone had to come up with the idea of track. Track goes all the way back to ancient olympic times in 776 BC. Scientists found out with more evidence, that track like games have been done many years before that date as well like the ninth and tenth BC. During this time bronze tripods have been found so those may have been prizes given to the winners at events. From 776 BC, the games were held in Olympia every four years for twelve centuries. Many events were added gradually until, by the fifth century BC, a religious festival consisted of a five day program. The events included 3 foot races (stadion, diaulos, and dolichos) as well as the pentathlon which included (5 contests: discus, javelin, long jump, wrestling and foot race), pug me (boxing), pale (wrestling), pankration, and he hoplitodromos. Many more events were added as time went on.

Track and field athletics in the United States dates from the 1860s. The Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America was the nation's first athletic group. They held the first collegiate races in 1873, and in 1888.

As track and field developed and changed over the years, a major issue for all the athletes was their stays as amateurs. For many years track and field was considered a purely amateur sport with no training money or cash prizes. If you were charged with professionalism, you could be banned from competition for life. In 1913, Jim Thorpe was stripped of his 1912 Olympic victories in the decathlon and pentathlon and banned from further competition after it was learned that he had played semiprofessional baseball.

In the beginning of the 1920s, track and field was changed. The first NCAA national championships were held for men in 1921, and women's track and field became part of the Olympic games in 1928. In 1952, the USSR sent its first Olympic team ever to the Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland, where the squad got several track and field medals. Over the next 30 years, the U.S. and Soviet team battled in one of the sports longed competitive rivalries. Women's track struggled for widespread acceptance until the 1970s, when track and field became really popular. Track and field has been the centerpiece of the Summer Olympic games since their revival in 1896. International professional running, in the 1970s, has had limited success.