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...