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Olympics guide: Athletics

Lots more thicky. Here's your Olympics guide to all things track and field. You're very welcome.

Athletes: 2000

Golds up for grabs: 47

Olympic presence: Men 1896–present; women 1928–present.

Olympic Format: 24 track events, 16 field events (4 jumping and 4 throwing for each gender), 5 road events (men’s and women’s marathons and 20km walks, men’s 50km walk), and 2 combined events (men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon).

Current Contenders: America has topped the athletics medals table in all but three of the 26 Modern Olympic Games and may well do it again in London. On the evidence of Beijing, however, their position is far from safe. Russia, Kenya and Jamaica each collected six golds in 2008, just one less than Team USA.

Past Champions: USA : 311 | USSR /Russia: 64 | Great Britain: 49 | Finland: 48

Watch it: Stadium (Track, field and combined events), London, finish at The Mall (Road events)

Find out more with freesat’s summer of sport guide

(Images: Rex Features)

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'Extracted from How to Watch the Olympics by David Goldblatt & Johnny Acton (Profile Books)'

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