Competitive track and field events consisting of running, throwing, and jumping disciplines. Running events range from sprint races (100 metres) and hurdles to cross-country running and the marathon (26 miles 385 yards). Jumping events are the high jump, long jump, triple jump, and pole vault. Throwing events are javelin, discus, shot put, and hammer throw. The worldwide governing body for the sport is the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
History Among the Greeks, vase paintings show that competitive athletics were established at least by 1600 BC (see Olympic Games). Greek and Roman athletes were well paid and sponsored. The philosopher Aristotle paid the expenses of a boxer contestant at Olympia, and chariot races were sponsored by the Greek city-states. Modern athletes are supposed to be unpaid amateurs. The concept of the unpaid amateur was popularized following the founding of the modern Olympic Games in 1896. Today, however, many athletes around the world are full-time, with their incomes coming from commercial or state sponsorship, as well as from appearance fees.
The governing body for athletics in the UK is the Amateur Athletics Association, which was founded in 1880.
Over the past few decades, there has been increasing controversy in the sport over the unlawful use of drugs, such as anabolic steroids and growth hormones.
British Athletics Federation
International Amateur Athletics Federation
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