The 48 athletics events are the most of any sport on the Olympic program. All are contested separately by men and women except where noted. The events can be divided into five groups:
Jessica Zelinka did double duty in her second Olympic Games appearance when she finished seventh in both the heptathlon and 100m hurdles at London 2012. That came four years after she had achieved the best-ever result by a Canadian in the Olympic heptathlon, when she finished fifth at Beijing 2008.