In the following we will highlight some key developments in the historical organisation of Athletics World Championships.
The Athletics World Championships is organized by World Athletics - what was earlier known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). IAAF was founded on July 17 1912 in Stockholm, shortly after the closing ceremony of the Stockholm Olympic Games. Since its founding the IAAF/World Athletics has been the governing body world wide for the sport of athletics. The number of countries and territories affiliated to World Athletics has grown from 17 founding members in 1912 to more than 200 today.
The Olympics as World Championships
Athletics is a sport with great traditions and popularity, and athletics was already an important part of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece since the first known ancient games in 776 BC. In Athens 1896 athletics also had a prominent position in the first modern Olympic Games. In 1896 the competitions were only for men, but from 1928 and onwards Olympic athletics was opened for women’s participation.
The second IAAF Congress was held in 1913 in Berlin. Here it was stated, that the competitions of the Olympic Games should be regarded as Championships of the World. For many years the winners of the disciplines in the Olympic Games were then recognized as the World Champions in athletics, but in 1976 the IAAF decided to arrange the first official World Championship competitions separated from the Olympic Games.
Results and other information about athletics in the Olympic Games are not included in this app.
The Modern World Championships
The first Athletics World Championships fully separated from the Olympic Games were held in 1983 in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. From 1983 up to and including 1991, World Championships were held every four years. In 1991 the World Championships were held in Tokyo, Japan, and after this year the athletics World Championships have been held every two years in the odd years (except for the 2022 championships which were postponed a year as a result of the Corona pandemic).
Two special World Championship events have been held before the first official edition of the World Championships in 1983. In 1976 the World Championships had only one event – men's 50 km walk race which was dropped from the programme for the 1976 Summer Olympics despite the constant presence of the event at the Olympic Games since 1932, and the IAAF decided to set up their own competition instead. In 1980 the IAAF arranged a World Championship with two newly approved events - women’s 3000 m race and women’s 400 m hurdles. The two events were not accepted on the programme for the 1980 Summer Olympics.
Results and other information about the three events arranged in 1976 and 1980 are not included in this app.
In 2019 the World Championships in athletics were held in Doha, Qatar. In 2022 the Championships are held in Eugene, United States, and in 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.
There are four main strands to the Athletics competitions: track events, field events, combined events and road events.
Track events for men and women consists of sprint-, middle-distance- and long-distance running, hurdles and steeplechase races and relays.
Field events for men and women consist of high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw.
Combined events: women’s pentathlon/heptathlon and men’s decathlon.
Road events for men and women: walk races and marathon running.