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The 2012 Summer Olympics Field Events Format: How Athletes Compete and Win

Yahoo Contributor Network

The field events, while often overlooked, are the heart of the Olympic Games. This was true in ancient days, at the first modern Olympiad in 1896, and hold true today.

Certainly though, the athletes competing in these events labor in obscurity. Names from other summer events make up a who's-who of Olympic legends: Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Mary Lou Retton, and the Dream Team. But try to name one hammer-throw gold medalist, or triple-jumper.

Enjoy basketball, swimming and gymnastics this summer. Cheer our athletes on to the gold. But fill the gaps in between by watching some amazing athletes compete in Olympic competitions they have trained for most of their lives.

The Events

The events of the field competition are: long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, hammer, and javelin.

The Schedule

Long Jump Men - Prelims Aug. 3 at 7:50 p.m., Finals Aug. 4 at 7:55 p.m.

Long Jump Women - Prelims Aug. 7 at 7:05 p.m., Finals Aug. 8 at 8:05 p.m.

Triple Jump Men - Prelims Aug. 7 at 10:45 p.m., Finals Aug. 9 at 7:20 p.m.

Triple Jump Women - Prelims Aug. 3 at 10:25 a.m., Finals Aug. 5 at 7:35 p.m.

High Jump Men - Prelims Aug. 5 at 7:05 p.m., Finals Aug. 7 at 7:00 p.m.

High Jump Women - Prelims Aug. 9 at 9:30 a.m., Finals Aug. 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Pole Vault Men - Prelims Aug. 8 at 10:00 a.m., Finals Aug. 10 at 7:00 p.m.

Pole Vault Women - Prelims Aug. 4 at 10:20 a.m., Finals Aug. 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Shot Put Men - Prelims Aug. 3 at 10:00 a.m., Finals Aug. 3 at 8:30 p.m.

Shot Put Women - Prelims Aug 6 at 10:45 a.m., Finals Aug 6 at 7:15 p.m.

Discus Men - Prelims Aug. 6 at 10:00 a.m., Finals Aug. 7 at 7:45 p.m.

Discus Women - Prelims Aug. 3 at 7:10 p.m., Finals Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Hammer Throw Men - Prelims Aug.3 at 11:20 a.m., Finals Aug. 5 at 8:20 p.m.

Hammer Throw Women - Prelims Aug. 8 at 10:00 a.m., Finals Aug. 10 at 7:35 p.m.

Javelin Men - Prelims Aug. 8 at 7:05 p.m., Finals Aug. 11 at 7:20 p.m.

Javelin Women - Prelims Aug. 7 at 10:00 a.m., Finals Aug. 9 at 9:00 p.m.

The Competitors

Nearly 2,000 athletes will compete in 47 track and field events, with 16 individual events and 2 combined events comprising the field portion of the events.

The Venues

All field events at the 2012 London Games will be contested in Olympic Stadium, the newly built main structure for the London 2012 games.

The Scoring

Hammer Throw, Javelin, Discus, Shot Put -- All competitors make three throws in the qualifying round. All throwers who break the qualifying distance move to the finals. If fewer than 12 qualify, the top 12 advance. Each competitor gets three throws in the first final round, with the top 8 advancing to the second final round and throwing three more times. The longest distance wins.

Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Pole Vault - All competitors make three jumps in the qualifying round. All jumpers who break the qualifying distance move to the finals. If fewer than 12 qualify, the top 12 advance. Each competitor gets jumps throws in the first final round, with the top 8 advancing to the second final round and throwing jumping more times. The longest distance or highest jump wins.

Definitions and descriptions were obtained from, and more information is available at www.olympic.org and www.london2012.com.

A fan of the Olympics and frequent writer about the 2012 London Games, Dave will be spending his summer vacation stateside, cheering on Team USA to gold.

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