Track events include the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800-, 1,500-, 5,000-, and 10,000-meter runs; the marathon race (26 mi 385 yd/42.19 km); the 100- (women), 110- (men) and 400-meter hurdles; the 400- and 1,600-meter relays; the 3,000-meter steeplechase (men); and the 20,000- and 50,000-meter (men) walks. Such British-system equivalents as the 100-yd dash and the mile run may also be part of a meet. Field events include the shot put; the hammer throw; the discus throw; the javelin toss (less frequently); the high jump; the long jump; the triple jump (formerly the running hop, skip, and jump); and the pole vault. The ten-event decathlon is the major composite event for men, and the Olympic winner is traditionally acclaimed as the "world's greatest athlete." The seven-event heptathlon (formerly the five-event pentathlon) is the women's major composite event.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.