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Sport guide: Athletics

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OVERVIEW:

It casts no disrespect on the other Olympic events for the athletics programme to be recognised as the centrepiece of the festival.

With more than 2,000 competitors challenging for 47 gold medals, athletics is the biggest sport, throwing up some remarkable double challenges, including the 100 metres and 200m, 800m and 1500m, 5,000m and 10,000m, and with the marathon building a tradition of its own.

Typically, the action starts about a week after the opening ceremony and almost amounts to a Games within the Games, attracting the biggest crowds to the showpiece stadium and creating the major heroes.

American Ray Ewry's 10 gold medals include two from the unofficial 1906 Games in Athens, but there are no disputes about the validity of the nine golds won by Finland's Paavo Nurmi at distances ranging from 1500m to 10,000m between 1920 and 1928 - or the nine won by Carl Lewis at 100m, 200m, the sprint relay and the long jump for the United States between 1984 and 1996.

In 1984 Lewis emulated the 1936 feat of Jesse Owens and the 1900 achievement of Alvin Kraenzlein in winning four athletics golds at one Games, while Dutch runner Fanny Blankers-Koen was the first woman to achieve the feat in 1948.

Merlene Ottey of Jamaica never won a gold medal, but she earned her place in history with nine silver or bronze sprint medals in a career that took her to six Games for Jamaica and a seventh for Slovenia.

Al Oerter, of the United States, also entered the record books in the men's discus by claiming four consecutive golds from 1956 to 1968, while the Soviet Union's Viktor Saneyev won the triple jump crown at three successive Games from 1968 before striking silver in 1980 and Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic, followed his javelin silver medal in 1988 with three golds in a row.

Athletics has featured at every Games and the United States have dominated, with more than 300 gold medals. But the solitary golds for Syria and Burundi in 1996, for the Dominican Republic in 2004 and for Panama in 2008 give hope to all competitors in London.

EVENTS / FAVOURITES / FORMAT:

MEN'S:
100M

1. Asafa Powell (Jamaica)
2. Usain Bolt (Jamaica)
3. Yohan Blake (Jamaica)
4. Walter Dix (United States)
5. Tyson Gay (United States)
6. Michael Rodgers (United States)
7. Kim Collins (Nevis)
8. Richard Thompson (Tobago)
200M
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica)
2. Walter Dix (United States)
3. Wallace Spearmon (United States)
4. Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (Norway)
5. Christophe Lemaitre (France)
6. Alonso Edward (Panama)
7. Yohan Blake (Jamaica)
8. Churandy Martina (Netherlands)
400M
1. Jeremy Wariner (United States)
2. Jermaine Gonzales (Jamaica)
3. Kirani James (Grenada)
4. Chris Brown (Bahamas)
5. Kévin Borlée (Belgium)
6. Nery Brenes (Costa Rica)
7. Renny Quow (Tobago)
8. Jonathan Borlée (Belgium)
800M
1. David Lekuta Rudisha (Kenya)
2. Abubaker Kaki (Sudan)
3. Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (South Africa)
4. Alfred Kirwa Yego (Kenya)
5. Yuriy Borzakovskiy (Russia)
6. Marcin Lewandowski (Poland)
7. Boaz Kiplagat Lalang (Kenya)
8. Mohammed Aman (Ethiopia)
1500M
1. Asbel Kiprop (Kenya)
2. Silas Kiplagat (Kenya)
3. Abdalaati Iguider (Morocco)
4. Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba (Kenya)
5. Mekonnen Gebremedhin (Ethiopia)
6. Nicholas Willis (New Zealand)
7. Matt Centrowitz (United States)
8. Deresse Mekonnen (Ethiopia)
5000M
1. Bernard Lagat (United States)
2. Mo Farah (Great Britain)
3. Imane Merga (Ethiopia)
4. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia)
5. Dejen Gebremeskel (Ethiopia)
6. Vincent Kiprop Chepkok (Kenya)
7. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya)
8. Isiah Kiplangat Koech (Kenya)
10000M
1. Mo Farah (Great Britain)
2. Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia)
3. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia)
4. Imane Merga (Ethiopia)
5. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea)
6. Moses Masai (Kenya)
7. Wilson Kiprop (Kenya)
8. Giovani Dos Santos (Brazil)
MARATHON
1. Abel Kirui (Kenya)
2. Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya)
3. Vincent Kipruto (Kenya)
4. Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia)
5. Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia)
6. Jaouad Gharib (Morocco)
7. Gebregziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia)
8. Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco)
110M HURDLES
1. David Oliver (United States)
2. Jason Richardson (United States)
3. Dayron Robles (Cuba)
4. Liu Xiang (China)
5. Dwight Thomas (Jamaica)
6. Andy Turner (Great Britain)
7. Aries Merritt (United States)
8. Ryan Brathwaite (Barbados)
400M HURDLES
1. Javier Culson (Puerto Rico)
2. David Greene (Great Britain)
3. Bershawn Jackson (United States)
4. Kerron Clement (United States)
5. L.J. Van Zyl (South Africa)
6. Angelo Taylor (United States)
7. Jehue Gordon (Tobago)
8. Félix Sánchez (Dominican Republic)
3000M STEEPLECHASE
1. Ezekiel Kemboi (Kenya)
2. Paul Kipsiele Koech (Kenya)
3. Brimin Kipruto (Kenya)
4. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (France)
5. Roba Gari (Ethiopia)
6. Bouabdellah Tahri (France)
7. Benjamin Kiplagat (Uganda)
8. Ruben Ramolefi (South Africa)
4 X 100M RELAY
1. Jamaica (Jamaica)
2. France (France)
3. Nevis (Nevis)
4. Great Britain (Great Britain)
5. Tobago (Tobago)
6. United States (United States)
7. Brazil (Brazil)
8. Japan (Japan)
4 X 400M RELAY
1. United States (United States)
2. Great Britain (Great Britain)
3. South Africa (South Africa)
4. Russia (Russia)
5. Jamaica (Jamaica)
6. Australia (Australia)
7. Belgium (Belgium)
8. Cuba (Cuba)
LONG JUMP
1. Dwight Phillips (United States)
2. Mitchell Watt (Australia)
3. Godfrey Mokoena (South Africa)
4. Aleksandr Menkov (Russia)
5. Fabrice Lapierre (Australia)
6. Irving Saladino (Panama)
7. Ngonidzashe Makusha (Zimbabwe)
8. Greg Rutherford (Great Britain)
TRIPLE JUMP
1. Phillips Idowu (Great Britain)
2. Christian Taylor (United States)
3. Alexis Copello (Cuba)
4. Will Claye (United States)
5. Leevan Sands (Bahamas)
6. Teddy Tamgho (France)
7. Arnie David Girat (Cuba)
8. Nelson Évora (Portugal)
HIGH JUMP
1. Jesse Williams (United States)
2. Andrey Silnov (Russia)
3. Ivan Ukhov (Russia)
4. Aleksey Dmitrik (Russia)
5. Trevor Barry (Bahamas)
6. Dimítrios Chondrokoúkis (Greece)
7. Jaroslav Bába (Czech Republic)
8. Kyriakos Ioannou (Cyprus)
JAVELIN
1. Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway)
2. Matthias De Zordo (Germany)
3. Tero Pitkämäki (Finland)
4. Guillermo Martínez (Cuba)
5. Vítezslav Veselý (Czech Republic)
6. Petr Frydrych (Czech Republic)
7. Vadims Vasilevskis (Latvia)
8. Ainars Kovals (Latvia)
DISCUS
1. Robert Harting (Germany)
2. Gerd Kanter (Estonia)
3. Piotr Malachowski (Poland)
4. Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania)
5. Zoltán Kövágó (Hungary)
6. Ehsan Hadadi (Iran)
7. Frank Casañas (Spain)
8. Märt Israel (Estonia)
HAMMER
1. Krisztián Pars (Hungary)
2. Primož Kozmus (Slovenia)
3. Koji Murofushi (Japan)
4. Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan)
5. Szymon Ziólkowski (Poland)
6. Aleksey Zagornyi (Russia)
7. Markus Esser (Germany)
8. Pawel Fajdek (Poland)
SHOT PUT
1. Christian Cantwell (United States)
2. Dylan Armstrong (Canada)
3. Reese Hoffa (United States)
4. Tomasz Majewski (Poland)
5. David Storl (Germany)
6. Ryan Whiting (United States)
7. Andrei Mikhnevich (Belarus)
8. Ralf Bartels (Germany)
POLE VAULT
1. Renaud Lavillenie (France)
2. Malte Mohr (Germany)
3. Lázaro Borges (Cuba)
4. Steven Hooker (Australia)
5. Pawel Wojciechowski (Poland)
6. Romain Mesnil (France)
7. Maksym Mazuryk (Ukraine)
8. Derek Miles (United States)
DECATHLON
1. Leonel Suárez (Cuba)
2. Trey Hardee (United States)
3. Ashton Eaton (United States)
4. Hans Van Alphen (Belgium)
5. Eelco Sintnicolaas (Netherlands)
6. Pascal Behrenbruch (Germany)
7. Bryan Clay (United States)
8. Oleksiy Kasyanov (Ukraine)
20KM WALK
1. Valeriy Borchin (Russia)
2. Vladimir Kanaykin (Russia)
3. Eder Sánchez (Mexico)
4. Luis Fernando López (Colombia)
5. Wang Zhen (China)
6. Wang Hao (China)
7. Jared Tallent (Australia)
8. Zhu Yafei (China)
50KM WALK
1. Sergey Bakulin (Russia)
2. Denis Nizhegorodov (Russia)
3. Jared Tallent (Australia)
4. Sergey Kirdyapkin (Russia)
5. Si Tianfeng (China)
6. Trond Nymark (Norway)
7. Jesús Ángel García (Spain)
8. Alex Schwazer (Italy)
WOMEN'S:
100M
1. Carmelita Jeter (United States)
2. Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica)
3. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica)
4. Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Tobago)
5. Kerron Stewart (Jamaica)
6. Marshevet Myers (United States)
7. Chandra Sturrup (Bahamas)
8. Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (Bahamas)
200M
1. Allyson Felix (United States)
2. Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica)
3. Carmelita Jeter (United States)
4. Bianca Knight (United States)
5. Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (Bahamas)
6. Kerron Stewart (Jamaica)
7. Sherone Simpson (Jamaica)
8. Cydonie Mothersill (Cayman Islands)
400M
1. Amantle Montsho (Botswana)
2. Sanya Richards-Ross (United States)
3. Allyson Felix (United States)
4. Shericka Williams (Jamaica)
5. Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica)
6. Debbie Dunn (United States)
7. Anastasiya Kapachinskaya (Russia)
8. Christine Ohuruogu (Great Britain)
800M
1. Janeth Jepkosgei (Kenya)
2. Caster Semenya (South Africa)
3. Mariya Savinova (Russia)
4. Jenny Meadows (Great Britain)
5. Alysia Johnson (United States)
6. Pamela Jelimo (Kenya)
7. Kenia Sinclair (Jamaica)
8. Halima Hachlaf (Morocco)
1500M
1. Maryam Yusuf Jamal (Bahrain)
2. Hannah England (Great Britain)
3. Jenny Barringer Simpson (United States)
4. Lisa Dobriskey (Great Britain)
5. Nancy Jebet Langat (Kenya)
6. Btissam Lakhouad (Morocco)
7. Gelete Burka (Ethiopia)
8. Morgan Uceny (United States)
5000M
1. Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya)
2. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia)
3. Sylvia Kibet (Kenya)
4. Sentayehu Ejigu (Ethiopia)
5. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia)
6. Linet Masai (Kenya)
7. Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey)
8. Lauren Fleshman (United States)
10000M
1. Linet Masai (Kenya)
2. Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya)
3. Sally Kipyego (Kenya)
4. Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia)
5. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia)
6. Wude Ayalew (Ethiopia)
7. Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey)
8. Cruz Nonata Da Silva (Brazil)
MARATHON
1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya)
2. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya)
3. Sharon Cherop (Kenya)
4. Liliya Shobukhova (Russia)
5. Bezunesh Bekele (Ethiopia)
6. Irina Mikitenko (Germany)
7. Bai Xue (China)
8. Yoshimi Ozaki (Japan)
100M HURDLES
1. Sally Pearson (Australia)
2. Danielle Carruthers (United States)
3. Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (Canada)
4. Dawn Harper (United States)
5. Lolo Jones (United States)
6. Brigitte Foster-Hylton (Jamaica)
7. Tiffany Ofili-Porter (Great Britain)
8. Delloreen Ennis-London (Jamaica)
400M HURDLES
1. Melaine Walker (Jamaica)
2. Lashinda Demus (United States)
3. Kaliese Spencer (Jamaica)
4. Natalya Antyukh (Russia)
5. Zuzana Hejnová (Czech Republic)
6. Perri Shakes-Drayton (Great Britain)
7. Sheena Tosta (United States)
8. Josanne Lucas (Tobago)
3000M STEEPLECHASE
1. Milcah Chemos Cheywa (Kenya)
2. Yuliya Zaripova (Russia)
3. Habiba Ghribi (Tunisia)
4. Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia)
5. Mercy Njoroge (Kenya)
6. Gulnara Galkina (Russia)
7. Marta Domínguez (Spain)
8. Lydia Jebet Rotich (Kenya)
4 X 100M RELAY
1 United States
2 Jamaica
3 Ukraine
4 Brazil
5 Bahamas
6 Germany
7 Russia
8 Colombia
4 X 400M RELAY
1 United States
2 Jamaica
3 Russia
4 Great Britain
5 Brazil
6 Colombia
7 Cuba
8 Ukraine
LONG JUMP
1. Brittney Reese (United States)
2. Janay DeLoach (United States)
3. Olga Kucherenko (Russia)
4. Funmi Jimoh (United States)
5. Ineta Radevica (Latvia)
6. Naide Gomes (Portugal)
7. Darya Klishina (Russia)
8. Tatyana Lebedeva (Soviet Union)
TRIPLE JUMP
1. Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan)
2. Olha Saladuha (Ukraine)
3. Yargelis Savigne (Cuba)
4. Mabel Gay (Cuba)
5. Caterine Ibargüen (Colombia)
6. Anna Pyatykh (Russia)
7. Yamilé Aldama (Great Britain)
8. Tatyana Lebedeva (Soviet Union)
HIGH JUMP
1. Blanka Vlašic (Croatia)
2. Anna Chicherova (Russia)
3. Chaunte Lowe (United States)
4. Antonietta Di Martino (Italy)
5. Ruth Beitia (Spain)
6. Svetlana Shkolina (Russia)
7. Tia Hellebaut (Belgium)
8. Ebba Jungmark (Sweden)
JAVELIN
1. Barbora Špotáková (Czech Republic)
2. Maria Abakumova (Russia)
3. Christina Obergföll (Germany)
4. Sunette Viljoen (South Africa)
5. Kara Patterson (United States)
6. Goldie Sayers (Great Britain)
7. Madara Palameika (Latvia)
8. Martina Ratej (Slovenia)
DISCUS
1. Yarelis Barrios (Cuba)
2. Nadine Müller (Germany)
3. Li Yanfeng (China)
4. Dani Samuels (Australia)
5. Sandra Perkovic (Croatia)
6. Stephanie Brown Trafton (United States)
7. Zaneta Glanc (Poland)
8. Aretha Thurmond (United States)
HAMMER
1. Betty Heidler (Germany)
2. Tatyana Lysenko (Russia)
3. Zhang Wenxiu (China)
4. Yipsi Moreno (Cuba)
5. Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland)
6. Martina Hrasnová (Slovakia)
7. Kathrin Klaas (Germany)
8. Aksana Miankova (Belarus)
SHOT PUT
1. Valerie Adams (New Zealand)
2. Nadezhda Ostapchuk (Belarus)
3. Jillian Camarena-Williams (United States)
4. Nadine Kleinert (Germany)
5. Natallia Mikhnevich (Belarus)
6. Gong Lijiao (China)
7. Cleopatra Borel-Brown (Tobago)
8. Michelle Carter (United States)
POLE VAULT
1. Fabiana Murer (Brazil)
2. Silke Spiegelburg (Germany)
3. Svetlana Feofanova (Russia)
4. Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia)
5. Anna Rogowska (Poland)
6. Jennifer Suhr (United States)
7. Martina Strutz (Germany)
8. Monika Pyrek (Poland)
HEPTATHLON
1. Tatyana Chernova (Russia)
2. Jessica Ennis (Great Britain)
3. Jennifer Oeser (Germany)
4. Nataliya Dobrynska (Ukraine)
5. Karolina Tyminska (Poland)
6. Hyleas Fountain (United States)
7. Lyudmyla Yosypenko (Ukraine)
8. Kamila Chudzik (Poland)
20KM WALK
1. Olga Kaniskina (Russia)
2. Liu Hong (China)
3. Anisya Kirdyapkina (Russia)
4. Inês Henriques (Portugal)
5. Vera Santos (Portugal)
6. Beatriz Pascual (Spain)
7. Elisa Rigaudo (Italy)
8. Olive Loughnane (Ireland)

The 24 track events (12 for men, 12 for women) are held over distances ranging from 100m to 10,000m and most begin with one or more rounds of heats with the best athletes eventually qualifying for the final.

The 16 field events fall into two categories: throwing and jumping. Field events at the Games start with a qualification stage with the best athletes qualifying for the final.

There are also the combined events: Decathlon for men and Heptathlon for women. These are made up of 10 events over two days for men (100m, Long jump, Shot put, High jump, 400m, 110m hurdles, Discus, Pole vault, Javelin, 1500m) and seven for women (100m hurdles, High jump, Shot put, 200m, Long jump, Javelin and 800m) with points awarded for athletes’ performances in each.

The Marathon is run over 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometres) and in walking athletes must have one foot in contact with the ground at all times and the advancing leg must be straight from the moment it touches the ground to the point where it is in a vertical position.

ALL-TIME MEDAL TABLE:

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