Event Paper: Hurdling In track and field, the three main types of event include: running, throwing and jumping. According to britannica. com, hurdling is defined as “A sport in athletics (track and field) in which a runner races over a series of obstacles called hurdles, which are set a fixed distance apart. ” Throughout the race, runners are required to stay within their assigned lane. They are allowed to knock down hurdles while running, but a runner who trails a foot or leg alongside a hurdle or knocks it down with a hand is disqualified.
Hurdling, which combines running and jumping, is fairly new in comparison to the other track and field events. However, hurdling contains an impressive and interesting history and continues to be one of the most popular events at the Olympics. It was not until the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 when hurdles were introduced to the world. The original Olympics began long before in Greece, however, Roman Emperor Theodosius I had banned the Games 1,500 years earlier as an attempt to abolish what he thought were pagan practices.
The modern Olympics arose in Athens and presented hurdling events, thanks to the French baron, Pierre de Coubertin, who than became the first International Olympic Committee president. The Games initially began with 110-meter hurdles and in 1900 introduced the 400-meter hurdles. When the sport was first introduced, hurdling was completed by simply jumping over the hurdles. American Alvin Kraenslein, however, changed this and introduced a new striding technique for overcoming the hurdles in 1900. This technique incorporated straightening the front leg while tucking the back leg underneath the body.

After winning both the 110- and 200-meter hurdle events, Kraenzlein’s technique became the standard for hurdling and still is practiced today. After its introduction, hurdling was mainly recognized as an event for men only. In 1926, this changed with the introduction of the Olympic 80-meter hurdle events for women. With the success of women such as Babe Didrikson exceeding, the participation and recognition of women in hurdling increased. Furthermore, as of 2011, women compete in the same hurdling events as men, including the 400-meter hurdles.
In hurdling events, there are sprint hurdle races and long hurdle races. The most common sprint hurdles is 110 meters for men and 100 meters for women. As mentioned, the standard long hurdle race is 400 meters for both men and women. There are also other distances that are run indoors which are usually 60 meters or less for both men and women. In sum, there are different specific techniques for each hurdle race. While the high hurdles races are sprints, they are also technical events. The ultimate goal for all hurdlers is do as little hurdling, and as much as running, as possible.
This means participants must sprint, clear the hurdles, then proceed sprinting as quickly as possible. The key is to preserve momentum while clearing all ten hurdles, maintaining one’s center of gravity as close to standard sprinting position as possible. As with the other sprint races, high hurdles participants being in starting blocks. However, unlike a straight spring, sprint hurdlers most transfer into an upright position rather quickly. Sprint hurdlers retain their speed leading up to each hurdle, but they also shorten the last step before their lead leg rises to clear the hurdle.
This provokes the plant foot under the hips and allows the hurdler to shift their upper body weight forward. It is also vital to remember appropriate arm technique. The arm on the opposite side of the lead leg pushes forward and literally directs the runner toward the hurdle. As the lead leg’s knee drives to the hurdle, the lower leg extends forward until the foot approaches the hurdle’s height. As the body leans forward, the lead knee continues slight bent as the hurdler proceeds forward. As soon as the lead leg’s heel clears the hurdle, it is important immediately bring that foot down.
Than the contestant must pull his or her trail leg over the hurdle quickly and prepare to resume sprinting. Senior-level hurdlers usually take three strides between hurdles but it can vary. In sum, it is important to never slow down and to utilize the arms, which will help the hurdler to maintain good balance. Both men and women have set astonishing records in completing the event of hurdling. The 110-meter hurdles for men, 12. 8 seconds is the fastest that has ever been ran and Aries Merritt from the USA holds that record. However, one other significant hurdler is Liu Xiang who was the first person to run under 12. seconds. Also, Allen Johnson from USA is the only four-time world champion. The fastest time ran for the women’s 100-meter hurdles is 12. 21 by Yordanka Donkova in 1988. Two other successful athletes that are the only 100 meters hurdlers to have become both Olympic Champion and World Champion are Sally Pearson from Austria and Ludmila Narozhilenko-Engquist from Sweden. As the Olympic Games continue, team USA remains to dominate the men’s 110-meter hurdles however, for the women’s 100-meter hurdles, athletes from Bulgaria and Germany dominate the event.
The 400 meters hurdles is also an Olympic event in track and field. Runners stay in their lanes the entire way after starting out of the blocks and must clear ten hurdles that are evenly spaced around the track. The 400 meters hurdle race requires speed, endurance, and hurdling technique along with distinctive awareness and particular concentration throughout the race. The current men’s and women’s world record holders are Kevin Young with 46. 78 seconds and Yuliya Pechonkina with 52. 34 seconds. There are common physical characteristics and traits among hurdlers.
Many hurdlers are considered strong and have a good amount of muscle. This is important in having a good, solid landing as well as having an aggressive start. Also good flexibility and coordination (i. e. hip mobility) is vital. During the hurdling process one of your legs does extend to the side in which this trait comes to play. Furthermore, a hurdler must run the 100 meters well since the ultimate objective of hurdling is to sprint the event as much as possible. Finally having a tall stature can be an advantage due to having shorter strides and achieving greater horizontal distance over the hurdle.
All in all, a successful hurdler contains most or all of these physical characteristics. Hurdling can now been seen at almost all levels, beginning with middle school student track and field teams, and continuing through high school and college to the Olympics. It is important to understand that hurdling involves persistent training and with that strong work ethic. As Kevin Young said, “The key thing in the hurdles is that it’s a development event. You might not do a damn thing one year, and then things just click. You really can’t discount athletes who may not stand out immediately.
It may take two or three years for an athlete to develop. ” References Hurdling. (2012). In Encyclop? dia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/277252/hurdling Rosenbaum, Mike. (2010). Sprint hurdles technique. Retrieved Dec. 18, 2012, from About. com database. Sherwod, Chris. (2011, Jul 14). History of hurdling. Retrieved Dec. 18, 2012, from Livestrong. com database. Slingo, Mark. (2008). History of hurdling. Retrieved Dec. 18, 2012, from ehow. com database. Sports Coach, BrianMac. (2012, Oct 17). Spring hurdles. Retrieved Dec. 18, 2012 from Brianmac. co database.

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