News12 Jun 2024

Top 10 most-asked questions in athletics


Answering the most-asked questions in athletics

Every day, thousands of athletics fans take to the web to find out more about the sport. Internet searches for track and field always increase in the lead up to an Olympics. So, to mark 50 days until athletics starts at the Paris 2024 Games, we’ve answered the 10 most-asked questions about the sport.


1. When is the Paris Olympics and what's the athletics schedule?

The opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be held on 26 July and the Olympic programme runs until 11 August. The athletics action starts on 1 August and concludes on 11 August.

Full athletics timetable for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.


2. How can I watch athletics?

Details of live streams for World Athletics Series events, Wanda Diamond League meetings and Continental Tour Gold meetings can be found on the World Athletics website.

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be broadcast by official Olympic media rights holders.

For area championships, national championships or smaller one-day meetings, check local listings or the websites of the competition organisers for details of any live streams.


3. What sports are in the Olympics?

There are 32 sports at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: track and field athletics, aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, breaking, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, shooting, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.

In terms of participation numbers, in-stadium fans, TV viewers and overall popularity, athletics is the No.1 Olympic sport.


4. Is race walking an Olympic sport?

Yes. Traditionally, there has been a 20km race for men and women, and a 50km race for men. For Paris, the men’s 50km event has been dropped, and the marathon race walk mixed relay has been introduced.

The event involves teams of one man and one woman who will complete the marathon distance (42.195km) in legs of 12.195km (man), 10km (woman), 10km (man) and 10km (woman). Athletes must carry a wristband that will be transferred to the next athlete within the 20-metre-long takeover zone.

Italian racewalker Massimo Stano

Italian racewalker Massimo Stano (© Getty Images)


5. How many lanes are on a track?

There are nine lanes on tracks used for major championships, though typically only eight of those will be used for sprint races.


6. How do athletes qualify for the Olympics?

Athletes can qualify for the Olympics in one of two ways: by attaining an entry standard, or achieving a high enough world ranking.

For the 10,000m, combined events, race walks and relays, the qualification period runs from 31 December 2022 to 30 June 2024. For the marathon, the qualification window is from 1 November 2022 to 30 April 2024. For all other events, the qualification period runs from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024.

The majority of the fields in the track relay events were determined at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24. The fields in the marathon race walk mixed relay was determined at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Antalya 24.


7. How are lanes assigned at championships?

In the first round of any discipline, lanes are assigned randomly. For the following rounds, however, athletes will be seeded based on their performance in the previous round, with the best performing athletes being given the preferred central lanes.


8. Who are the biggest stars in track and field?

There are different ways in which this can be measured, but the top 10 athletes in the world rankings are:

• World and Olympic 1500m champion and world record-holder Faith Kipyegon of Kenya
• World and Olympic pole vault champion and world record-holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden
• Two-time world 200m champion Shericka Jackson of Jamaica
• Multiple world sprint champion Noah Lyles of the USA
• World 400m hurdles champion and world indoor 400m record-holder Femke Bol of the Netherlands
• Olympic 1500m champion and two-time world 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway
• World 10,000m champion and world 5000m record-holder Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia
• World and Olympic shot put champion and world record-holder Ryan Crouser of the USA
• World 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson of the USA
• World and Olympic 400m hurdles champion and world record-holder Karsten Warholm of Norway

Several of these athletes feature in ‘Sprint’, a docuseries coming to Netflix on 2 July.

Faith Kipyegon celebrates her world 5000m title win in Budapest

Faith Kipyegon celebrates her world 5000m title win in Budapest (© Getty Images)


9. How many countries compete at the Olympics?

It is expected that 206 countries will be represented across all sports at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Almost all of those will feature in track and field athletics. At the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, for example, athletes from 190 teams took part in athletics.


10. How many times has Paris hosted the Olympics?

This year’s edition will mark the third time that Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics. The French capital first hosted the Games in 1900, then again in 1924.

Stade de France, venue for the athletics at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Stade de France, venue for the athletics at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (© AFP / Getty Images)


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