Athletics is a collection of sporting events that involve running, throwing and jumping. The name "athletics" is derived from the Greek word "athlos" meaning "contest”. From the earliest times running has been a natural part of man's existence, whether he was catching animals for food or escaping from predators. However, he also began to run for pleasure and then competitively, leading to a desire to improve on his speed or ability to run farther.
Modern athletic events are usually organized around a 400 meter running track on which most of the running events take place. Field events (vaulting, jumping, and throwing) often take place on the infield, inside the track.
Athletics was included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has formed their backbone ever since. Women were first allowed to participate in track and field events in the 1928 Olympics. The sport has a very high profile during major championships, especially the Olympics.