Video:Popular Distance Track and Field Events at the Olympicswith Travis Gower
Track and field events have been an important part of The Olympic Games since the time of the ancient Greeks. This video from About.com will go over the most popular distance events in the track and field portion of the Olympics.See Transcript
Transcript:Popular Distance Track and Field Events at the Olympics
My name is Travis Gower, I'm the head track coach at Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia, and we're going to talk about some of the most popular distance events at the Olympics.
Olympic Distance Events: 800m
The first race we're going to talk about today is the eight hundred meters. It's a very fast-paced race, almost a sprint for two laps. Things to look for in this race: it will get out very quickly. The top men will come through the first lap usually around fifty seconds, and the top women usually around fifty-five seconds. But the truly intriguing part is on the second lap, and the last part of the race, the last one hundred or two hundred meters. The winner usually comes from the person who holds together the best, not necessarily someone kicking.
Olympic Distance Events: 1500m
The next race we're going to talk about is the 1,500 meters. It is the metric mile; probably the most prestigious of the distance races. The fastest time ever was three minutes and twenty-six seconds by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, though in the Olympics you're probably going to see times slower than that. It becomes a very strategic race at the international level. Things to look for are top athletes finding position within the pack, and it usually comes down to the last 300, 400 meters, and what athlete can kick the best off of their position and early pace.
Olympic Distance Events: 5000m
The next race we're going to talk about is the 5,000 meters. It's called "the thinking man's race" because a lot can happen. Usually, what you'll look for in international competition is whether athletes try to push the pace early. And watching the race, you'll then see the field get rather thin, more single file behind those leaders and they'll try to push the pace throughout. Or you'll see a race where everyone is bunched up in a big pack, in which the people with the best sprint speed at the end of the race are going to be most successful.
Olympic Distance Events: Marathon
The last race we're going to talk about is the marathon. It is in commemoration of a run made by a Greek messenger after the Battle of Marathon, in which the Greeks unexpectedly defeated the mighty Persian army. The race itself will come down to the last six miles or so, as once you've reached that twenty mile mark the human body has reached the end of what it can comfortably handle. And even these top athletes are going to struggle, and it's going to be who has the strongest will to make it to that finish line.
For About.com, my name is Travis Gower, and thank you for watching.