Unit 2 Section C
100 metre sprints
The sport chosen to discuss is athletics. Athletics or also known as track and field is a collection of sports events that involve running, throwing and jumping. The name athletics is derived from the Greek word "athlos" meaning "contest".
The sports event chosen to discuss for this section is 100 metre sprints, it is the shortest outdoor sprint race distance in athletics. The reigning 100 metre Olympic champion is often named "the fastest man/woman in the world".
1. Rules/Laws and Regulations
Athletics has a very long history dating back to ancient times. The first evidence of athletics was in Egypt; this was proved by literary and iconographic sources describing athletic scenes as far back as 3,000 BC. The interest in athletic activities was recorded on temples and tombs.
The most evident dating of track and field events was the Ancient Olympics Games in 776BC an athletic festival to honour the ancient Greek gods. However these were not the only games that were competed for in this time. The Ancient Olympic Games originally contained an event called the stade race, a short sprint measuring between 180 and 240 metres, or the length of the stadium although the actual length is unknown. Runners had to pass five stakes that divided the lanes: one stake at the start, another at the finish, and three stakes in-between.
- Picture Above shows an Ancient Olympic stadium. Runners of the Stade race would run from one end of the stadium to the other.
Only free Greeks were allowed to participate and no slaves were allowed. Women were forbidden to participate in or even observe the games, on pain of death, by being thrown of a cliff, the reason for this was because it was thought to dishonour the god Zeus who was male. Although Women did have their own games in honour of the god Hera (female god) held in the Olympic stadium. These games consisted of three separate races including a stade race similar to the mens race but shorter.
The victors of the Ancient Olympic Games received an olive crown and had a statue erected at Olympia. They were not paid but were treated as celebrities in their local town.
In 336 AD the games collapsed after Christian values replaced the pagan values of the games. There were several attempts to create modern Olympic Games including the; 1612 Robert Dover Games and the 1850 Much Wenlock Olympic Games. Although none of these games contained a similar short sprint race in a stadium.
In 1889 a Greek called Evangelis Zappas organised a modern variation of the Olympics in Athens. In 1894 Baron De Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee. Two years later, in 1896, the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in Athens. The ancient Olympics were revived.
The rules and laws for athletic events are set by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). The rules applying for the 100 meter sprint event are:
- The length of the of the 100 metre sprint race track must be 100 metres. The IAAF also states that 48 inches must be the width of the individual lanes.
The reason the length of the race is 100 metres is because that is about the right length for an athlete to reach maximum speed through full acceleration. Before that speed is maintained and decelerated.
- The track has to be properly marked at the starting and finishing points.
For official reasons the track must have a clear starting and finishing point, that is properly marked and approved by the IAAF.
- There must be starting blocks at the start of the race.
Starting blocks are essential for the 100 metre sprints as they give athletes the most efficient start, to be able to drive forward at maximum velocity. Runners start in the crouched position. A crouched start is more effective than a standing start as it places the sprinter in a position to move the centre of gravity rapidly well ahead of the feet and thus the runner must accelerate very quickly or else fall. (Adrian & Cooper, 1995).
- Automatic timing devices must be used for recording time during the competition. The device must also be approved by the IAAF