Introduction to Olympic Athletics

Athletics | Published: Mon 1 August 2016

Who: 2377 athletes from 200 countries over 47 events

What: Men’s and women’s individual events and relays

Where: Olympic Stadium / Pontal (race walking) / Sambodromo (marathon)

When: Days 7 - 15

Athletics is widely considered the cream of Olympic sport. From 100m sprints in less than 10 seconds, to marathons ranging 42.2km, you are sure to find something that takes your fancy amongst the weird and wonderful world of track and field that makes up 47 events over nine days.

Steeped in the ancient traditions of Greece, track and field appeals to both purists and the once every four year fans alike. Athletics has been an ever present in the modern Olympics, ranging back to the first edition in Athens in 1896 and every edition subsequent. Women first entered Olympic track and field competition at the Amsterdam Games in 1928.


In Athens 2004, Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal (True Spirit of Sportsmanship) after he was intercepted by a spectator in the closing stages of the men’s marathon when leading. He recovered to finish third, winning bronze and legion of hearts and minds around the world.

Leading into Rio, Australia has won 21 gold, 25 silver and 25 bronze in Olympic history, with Steve Hooker’s gold in the men’s pole vault in Beijing 2008, the most recent success from WA.


Australia will boast 61 track and field athletes in Brazil, making it the largest section of athletes from any sport for the Australian Olympic Team.


Kim Mickle is a world championship medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion. Rio will be her second Games. For both McEntee and Bol, Brazil will be their Olympic debut.

Mickle confirmed her place for Rio in late July, throwing nearly 60m, despite being just 11 months post shoulder surgery, which was undertaken after she dislocated her shoulder at the 2015 IAAF Athletics World Championships in Beijing, needing a full reconstruction. Her efforts in returning to full strength and fitness have marked her as one of WA's most inspiring athletes.

To follow WA’s track and field athletes, view their bios below, including information on when they are in action in Rio.

Kim Mickle