Athletics/track and field

Authored by: Katja Sonkeng , Marques R. Dexter , Robert Matz , Jepkorir Rose Chepyator-Thomson , Kipchumba Chelimo Byron

Routledge Handbook of Global Sport

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138887237
eBook ISBN: 9781315714264
Adobe ISBN:


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With its rich history, heroic actors and potential to transcend cultures and civilizations, athletics (also known as track and field) has been a perennial force in breaking political, racial, religious and gender barriers. As one of the oldest and most popular Olympic sport disciplines, athletics provides valuable insights into an ever-changing society towards a more global village. The purpose of this chapter is, therefore, to discuss and extend current knowledge and discourse that highlights the paramount significance of track and field in terms of culture, society, and geography. We will explore the basics elements of athletics and follow the history, development and global spread of this universal sport. Particular attention is paid to its purpose as an element of cultural preservation, identity formation, while serving as a tool for cultural diplomacy, a weapon of justice and reconciliation in society, and as a vehicle for social change across many countries worldwide.

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