Jess Ennis

Rio Spotlight on: Athletics



Rio Spotlight on: Athletics

29 October 2015 / 10:52

Where: Estádio Olímpico João Havelange (track and field), Flamengo Park (race walk) Sambódromo (marathon)
When: August 12-21
Medal events: 47
Estádio Olímpico João Havelange

About the sport

With its earliest roots tracing back to events used in the ancient Greek Olympics, the sport of athletics is instantly associated with the Games, having been contested at every Summer Olympics since the birth of the modern Olympic movement in 1896.

The modern program includes track and field events, road running events and race walking with more medals awarded for athletics than any other Olympic sport – a total of 141, including 47 golds.

There will be plenty for fans to feast on in Rio with men and women competing in the same 16 field events, while men contest the decathlon as opposed to the heptathlon for the women in the combined events.

Both men and women will take part in the marathon and 20km walk while the men will also line up for the 50km walk, hence why men contest 24 medals and women 23.

Qualification process:

National Olympic Committees, such as the British Olympic Association, may enter up to three athletes for each event on the athletics program, provided they have achieved the A standard, while a reserve athlete for the same event can also be named, again provided they have met the A standard.

The A standard relates to a time or distance, set out by the International Athletics Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), which an athlete must achieve to be in consideration for selection.

British success:

Athletics represents Team GB’s most successful sport in Olympic history, with a total of 194 medals won, including 53 gold, 79 silver and 62 bronze.

British athletes will be aiming to build on performances at London 2012 where they bagged six medals in total with Mo Farah (5,000m and 10,000m), Jessica Ennis-Hill (heptathlon) and Greg Rutherford (long jump) taking home gold, Christine Ohuruogu (400m) silver and Robbie Grabarz (high jump) bronze.

British hopes for Rio:

Great Britain will definitely have representation in three out of the four relays with the men’s 4x400m, and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m teams qualifying thanks to their performances at the IAAF World Relays earlier this year.

In terms of other names to look out for, qualification is still to be concluded before selections are made.

However individuals such as Olympic and world gold medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill are already well on track and Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford both also enjoyed successful World Championships this summer, with the former winning 5000m and 10,000m gold and Rutherford completing his set of major international medals in the long jump.

While Britain’s sprinting scene is also flourishing of late, with 100m and 200m British record holder Dina Asher-Smith quickly emerging as one to watch.