What is Athlete History types modalities difference with Sportsman


The word “ athlete ” is generally used to refer to people who practice any sport. Historically, the word comes from “athletics” and originates in Ancient Greece, where there was the first record of a competition of this type.

Currently, however, the word “athlete” has gained a broader meaning and also includes sportsmen from modalities other than athletics: the term is now used to name those who dedicate themselves amateurly or professionally to the sport.

What is a federated athlete?

A federated athlete is a high-performance sport practitioner who registers with the federation of the modality he/she practices. This is how he is able to participate in regional, national and international competitions as a professional athlete.

“The importance of federating is that you will develop your technique, improve your performance and compete in more outstanding competitions. From the moment you join, you start to participate in more competitions, this makes you specialize more and look for places that will provide more effective training and, with that, be able to participate in stronger competitions”, says the lawyer Luis Eduardo Barbosa, general director of SBDD (Brazilian Society of Sports Law).

History of Athletics

Athletics is the oldest sport in the world , and comes from authentic human behavior. For after learning to walk, we learn to run and jump.

The origin of athletics as a sport dates back to the first Olympics , held in Ancient Greece in 776 BC, but there are indications that the Egyptians and Chinese competed in very similar sports before.

The Roman invasion of Greece weakened the Olympic Games, and with that, the athletics format was gradually left aside.

In a modern style, with tests that involved several modalities, the sport was practiced again at the end of the 19th century, motivated by the military academies. In 1880, athletics competitions were recorded in the United States, England and some European countries.

With the first Olympics of the Modern Era, in Athens 1896, the practice was consolidated and popularized all over the world. In 1912, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is founded .

What are the main types of athletes?

We can think of three main types of athletes based on the level of effort in physical and technical improvement and the dependence of their income on sports performance in competitions: amateur, competitive and professional or elite athlete.

amateur athlete

The amateur has consistent training habits and seeks a gradual development of his physical form, but he does it for personal achievement or to belong to a group that is a fan of a certain sport.

This profile usually has few financial resources available to invest in their evolution and also cannot use most of their free time in pursuit of this goal because they have other priorities.

In addition, he does not usually participate in competitions unless they are recreational.

competitive athlete

This category trains very consistently, constantly seeks to improve and participates in competitions relevant to the sports community with which it is involved.

In the case of any injuries, he seeks to recover as quickly as possible and invests in health care to achieve this recovery, all because of a greater commitment to established goals in relation to his performance in competitions.

Professional or elite athlete

The elite athlete competes at a professional level and participates in the biggest competitions in the sport he adopts for a living, most of them regulated by national or even international federations.

Their lifestyle is shaped around the need for a high level of performance and, consequently, a huge commitment to their training program, which tends to be complex and takes up a good part of the day.

Sometimes, the professional athlete’s livelihood depends on their good results in competitions, both by winning awards and by the greater or lesser ability to attract sponsors.

Athletics modalities

Athletics is a sport made up of three modalities : running, jumping and throwing. These modalities are disputed in several types of events, and that each event can have subdivisions according to the different distances, the types of course, the equipment used, among others.

1. Races

Running events can be flat races, hurdles, hurdles, relay races and longer races, such as artistic march and marathon.

Within the shallow races , there are the famous sprint races of 100, 200 and 400 meters . They are played inside the stadium on oval tracks, and the rule determines that each athlete runs in their own lane.

There are also half-distance races of 800m and 1500m and long-distance races: 5000m and 10000m. In these races, the rules change and athletes must run in their lanes only until the end of the first corner.

Afterwards, they can run in any lane. Usually, disputes take place in the inside lanes (lanes 1 and 2), where the distance to be covered in the curves is shorter.

In hurdle races , athletes must run and jump 10 hurdles arranged on the track. The women’s race is 100 meters, the men’s 110 meters and there are also women’s and men’s 400 meters.

There are still races with obstacles , in this competition 2000m or 3000m are run, in which each lap of the track has 4 obstacles and a water gap to be jumped.

Relay events are team competitions , with four athletes each, who relay a baton every 100 meters. The baton exchange zone measures 20 centimeters, and the race consists of 4 stages of 100m or 4 stages of 400 meters.

The longest races within athletics, race walking and marathon, take place on the street. In athletic walking , male athletes cover a distance of 20km or 50km, while female athletes cover 20km.

It is a kind of endurance walk, the rule states that the competitor is obliged to keep one foot always on the ground and the knee of the moving leg cannot bend until completing the step. If there are three warnings from the judges, the athlete is disqualified from the race.

The marathon is the competition in which runners have to run 42,195 meters. This distance is a reference to the distance traveled by the Athenian soldier Phidipides to announce the victory of his army in the city of Marathon.

The soldier would have run the 42 kilometers, which separated the battle site from the city of Athens, to deliver the message and would have died of exhaustion after completing his mission.

List of events in racing mode:

  • Shallow races: sprint (100, 200 and 400m), middle distance (800 and 1500m) and long distance (5000 and 10000m);
  • Hurdles races: female (100m), male (110m) and male/female (400m);
  • Obstacle races: 2000 and 3000m;
  • Relay races: 4 stages of 100m and 4 stages of 400m;
  • Athletic walking: female (20km) and male (20km and 50km);
  • Marathon: 42,195m.

2. Heels

Comprise the jumping modality, the tests: long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault. These types of competitions are held in the stadium.

In the long jump , the athlete runs a course on the track, to gain momentum, and jumps as far as possible from his starting point.

In the triple jump , after an impulse race, from a determined point, the athlete performs a series of three jumps, trying to reach the greatest possible distance in the sandbox.

In the high jump , the competitor runs to gain momentum and jump over a slat, which determines the height of the jump. With each successful jump, the bar about 3 cm is made a new round. The one who jumps the highest without dropping the bar wins.

In pole vaulting , however , there is the jump over the slats, but with the help of a flexible pole of 4 to 5 meters. For each round in which the athletes successfully clear the bar, the bar is raised by 5 cm. As in the high jump, whoever jumps the highest without dropping the bar wins.

List of events in jumping mode:

  • Long jump;
  • Triple jump;
  • High jump;
  • Pole vault.

3. Pitches

In this modality, there are the events of shot put, discus throw, javelin throw and hammer throw. Throwing and throwing events are held at the stadium.

In the shot put , the ball, which weighs 7.26 kg (men’s competitions) or 4 kg (women’s competitions), must be thrown as far as possible.

In the discus throw , the object that must be thrown as far as possible is a metal plate, which measures 219 to 221 mm in diameter and weighs 2 kg in the men’s modality. For women, it measures 180 to 192 mm in diameter and weighs 1 kg.

The competition rules define that, during the launch, the athlete must remain in a specific area of ​​2.50 m in diameter.

The javelin throwing object is darts, which are a kind of spear.

Darts have a minimum size of 260cm and weigh 800g in men’s competitions, being thrown between two lines 90 cm apart. In the women’s competitions, darts are 220cm long and weigh 600g.

In the hammer throw , a metal ball (stainless steel or bronze) attached to a steel cable by a handle is thrown. The hammer weighs 7.36 kg in men’s competitions and 4 kg in women’s competitions. In both, the total length of the object must be up to 1.2 meters.

List of events in throwing mode:

  • Shot put;
  • Discus throw;
  • javelin throw;
  • Hammer throw.

There are also, within athletics, the so-called combined events . These are competitions that combine the three modalities of running, jumping and throwing in several tests. Combined athletics events are the heptathlon , a women’s competition, and the decathlon , a men’s competition.

In the heptathlon there are seven disciplines disputed over two days, in order:

  1. 100 meters hurdles;
  2. High jump;
  3. Shot put;
  4. 200 meters dash;
  5. Long jump;
  6. javelin throw;
  7. 800 meters.

In the decathlon, there are ten disciplines, which take place over two days, in order:

  1. 100 meters dash;
  2. Long jump;
  3. Shot put;
  4. High jump;
  5. 400 meters;
  6. 110 meters with barrier;
  7. Discus throw;
  8. Pole vault;
  9. javelin throw;
  10. 1500 meters.

What differentiates the sportsman and the athlete? 

This common question can be answered with a simple statement: every athlete is a sportsman, but not every sportsman is an athlete. In this case, what we mean is that athletes make their living from sport, have this activity as their main source of income and are dedicated to achieving high levels of performance

The main objective of the athlete , especially the professional athlete, is to win competitions and, for that, he is dedicated to training to reach the peak of his own performance and studies the best strategies to reach his goals and achievements.

Sportsmen, in turn, seek quality of life and resilience through the practice of physical activities. They can be competitive, but the goals often involve overcoming personal—physical and mental—rather than professional limitations.

Essentially, the professionalization of an athlete occurs when the individual becomes a member of some sports federation and pays a fee to remain affiliated. From then on, he will be able to participate in professional competitions, to represent clubs or teams and to be recognized as a professional. 

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