Field: Track’s Lesser Known Partner

Jocelyn Arraya, Layout Artist

When you hear about track and field, you may know more about track than you do about field. The field events held at Falls Church are shot put, long jump, high jump, and pole vault. In shot put you throw a heavy spherical object which is called the shot. You must hold the shot close to your neck and hold it there throughout the motion. You then release it above your shoulder with one hand. The end goal is to have your shot land the farthest.
In long jump you run down a strip of the track and attempt to jump as far as possible from a jumping board. Starting the leap past the foul line will disqualify the jump. During the high jump you do a short run up, jump up from one foot over a horizontal bar, and land on a cushioned landing pad. In pole vaulting you sprint down a track, plant one end of the pole in the planting box, catapult over a horizontal bar, let go of the pole, and fall into the landing pad. When jumping you must avoid knocking over the bar.
Field events (along with track events) first took place in the Olympics which can be traced back to 776 BC in ancient Greece. These track and field contests also took place during religious festivals. It wasn’t until centuries later when different non track and field events were incorporated into the Olympics. The Romans continued this tradition from Greece until it was banned in 394 AD.
Around the 1800’s is when track and field began to develop as a modern sport. It was used in grade schools and universities as part of a daily exercise routines. The first modernized competition for track and field meet was held between Oxford and Cambridge University in 1864. In 1866, the Amateur Athletics Club held the first English Track and Field championships. Official leagues and associations were formed in the early 1900’s. By 2008 the total number of the Track and Field events held at the Olympics increased from 12 to 47 events. This number rose because of the adding of regular events such as relays and javelins along with combined events such as the decathlon. The number also grew because of the introduction of women’s events which are slightly different from the men’s events. Women were not allowed to participate in the Olympics until 1928.
Field events, along with track have developed over the years to a point where anyone can participate, so next spring try out for field to have fun and work hard, and be sure and come out and support this year’s Jaguar field athletes!

An Dao (9) prepares to complete a pole vault at recent meet.
(Photo by Lifetouch)