The various athletics events at the 2012 Olympic Games ran from August 3 – 12, with 2,000 athletes taking part. Olympic Stadium played host to all track and field, and combined events, while The Mall featured the road competitions such as the marathon and racewalk.
Running and Race Walking Events
Events: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, 100m Hurdles (women only), 110m Hurdles (men only), 400m Hurdles, 3,000m Steeplechase (men only), 4 x 100m Relay, 4 x 400m Relay, Marathon, 20km Road Walk and 50 km Road Walk (men only)
All races, except the Marathon and Race-Walking events, take place on a 400m track. The objective of these races is to cross the finish line first (judged from the torso). In races of less than 800m, the competitors must remain in their assigned lanes for the duration of the race. In the 800m race, the competitors may move from their assigned lane after the first turn in the track. In the relay events four athletes run successive sections. The baton begins with the lead runner and is passed to each runner on his/her leg of the race. Hurdle events and the Steeplechase combine the skills of running and jumping. The height of the hurdles varies according to the event. In the Race Walking events, the Race Walkers must always have one foot in contact with the ground and must completely straighten their leg on each stride.
Events: High Jump, Pole Vault, Long Jump, Triple Jump
There are four jumping events which all require a running start to build momentum. The objective in these events is either to jump the highest or the furthest. In the horizontal jumps, competitors are permitted to make three attempts in the preliminary round and the top eight qualifying from the preliminary event qualify for a final event in which they perform another three jumps. In the vertical jump events, competitors are allowed three attempts to clear a set height. Competitors may choose to advance to the next round without having cleared the height or having used all three attempts. Three consecutive failures (not necessarily at the same height) result in the elimination of that competitor. The crossbar is raised with each round until only one competitor remains. That competitor is declared the winner.
Events: Shot Put, Discus, Hammer, Javelin
Athletes are required to put a Shot or throw the Discus, Hammer and Javelin as far as they can from a fixed throwing area. Competitors are allowed up to three throws in the preliminary round to achieve a qualifying standard. The shot is held in one hand beside the neck and is put by driving it upwards and outwards. It cannot be released or thrown like a baseball. The javelin must hit the ground point first for it to be counted. All throws must land within a fixed sector marked by tape or chalk lines.
Events: Decathlon and Heptathlon
The Decathlon for men and the Heptathlon for women combine 10 [men] and seven [women] running, jumping and throwing events. Competitors must complete all sections of the combined events in order to receive a final score. Points are awarded based on tables that set performance standards for each event. In the Long Jump and in throwing events, each combined-events competitor is allowed only three attempts. The events are held over the course of two days with a minimum half-hour break between events and a minimum 10-hour break between days.
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