The Most Popular Olympic Track and Field Events

Olympics season is one of the most anticipated seasons of all time.  People get to watch some of the games to watch again in the next Olympics after four years.  This builds suspense as you anticipate the records and stunts that will be made in the next Olympics.

Some of the popular track and field events include high jump, Pole vault, marathon, Long Jump, Discus, Short Jump, Relays, Javelin, etc. Track and field events get their name from the environment where they take place-a grass field or a running track. These sports are based on throwing, running, and jumping skills.


Learn more about the famous Olympic track and field events in the Olympics below.

The Most Popular Olympic Track and Field Events
Image Source: Kawowo


If you have watched the Olympics before, you know that marathons are started by a large number of athletes but end up with very few. Athletes keep dropping out one by one until a few make it to the finish line.  

The standard Olympic marathon is run at 26.2 miles which makes it the longest-running Olympic event.  The marathon track is marked in kilometers so that runners know their route.


As the runners run the 26.2-mile track, fans are cheering on bicycles, tricycles, and cars following behind them, wondering who will cross the finish line fast. 

Usually, people have their predictions and preferences and can only keep their eyes glued to the Television to see which athlete takes the day. This makes the marathon one of the most popular Olympic track and field events. 

Running Sprints

Running sprints are divided into 100m, 200m, and 400m. All these are to determine the fastest athlete in the race. Both men and women run these distances.  


It is interesting to see athletes take off at the top-most speed as the fans cheer on. Athletes start by assuming a crouching position with their feet on starting blocks to give them momentum. It is one of the best events to watch.

Middle Distance Running

Middle distance running is divided into 800m and 1500m. Unlike the sprints that take place on a shorter distance, Middle distance running takes place on slightly longer distances than the sprints.  

The 1500m is also called the metric mile, and athletes do 3.75 laps around the track. The runners follow the starting gun and immediately break for the track’s inside. It has round one, semi-finals, and the finals.

High Jump

High jump is one of the most interesting Olympics events. It involves participants attempting to clear a 4-meter long horizontal bar put at varying heights.  

The participant that jumps the highest height without dislodging the bar to the ground takes the day. It is interesting to see an athlete jump so high over a bar placed almost their height which makes the sport intriguing to watch. 

It has got tactics the participants have to follow if they must jump higher.  For instance, you run to the bar, leap headfirst, having your back to the bar.

The Most Popular Olympic Track and Field Events
Image Source: JG TC

Pole Vault

Pole vault is similar to high jump, but the participant here is aided with a long flexible pole to catapult them higher so they can jump over a vertical pole. Like high jump, the participant that jumps the highest is the winner. 

Every participant is given three attempts at each height. However, you can ‘skip’ a height to the next one without clearing the current one. Olympics fans find it intriguing to watch an athlete catapulted into the air by a pole hence the event has become popular with time.

Horizontal Jumps

This includes long and triple jump. The long jump has competitors running down a runway and jumping farthest into a sandpit. You are allowed to step on the takeoff board but never over it before you leap. 

The distance from the takeoff board to the first mark in the sandpit is the distance you jumped. On the other hand, the triple jump involves three steps the hop, step, and jump. The competitor that jumps the longest distance is the winner.

Shot Put

Here, athletes throw a metal ball using one hand.  The men’s metal ball weighs 16 pounds while that for women weighs 8 pounds. You have to stand in a circle of 7 feet in diameter and you hold the metal ball without dropping the hand below the starting position. 

You must throw the metal ball in a 35-degree sector of the field and the distance from the inside circumference of the circle and the nearest metal ball mark is your distance. Its intriguing to see athletes throw such a heavy metal ball so far.

The Most Popular Olympic Track and Field Events
Image Source: Sportsnet

Final Thoughts

There are various field and track Olympic events that are popular. Some of them, given the equipment they need and environment to participate can only be seen in the Olympics and other big competitions. 

Marathon and running, high jump, pole vault, horizontal jumps, and shot put are some of the famous events.

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