Track and Field Glossary of Terms and Lingo Reference

Lingo and Definitions

This is a complete glossary of terminology, lingo, and glossary terms and definitions for track and field and all of it's events.

Events

A

  • American Grip: A style of holding the javelin, in which the cord is grasped between the thumb and the index finger
  • Anchor Leg: The final leg of a relay race.
  • Anchor: The competitor who runs the final leg of the relay race. This is a position that is typically reserved for the most skilled or experienced member of the team, as it is the anchor's responsibility to either make up for any lost time or to maintain the team's lead.
  • Approach Run: The first step in the long jump, high jump, pole vault, and javelin throw events, in which the competitor sprints down the runway to build up the necessary speed and momentum for a successful takeoff.
  • Arena: The stadium in which all the track and field events are held. It is broadly composed of the running track, the grass field, and the spectator's stands.
  • Athletics: The category of sports that involves all forms of competitive running, throwing, jumping, and walking, such as track and field, cross country running, and race walking.

B

  • Back Straight: The straight stretch of track that is located directly across the field from the home straight.
  • Barrel Start: A type of race start positioning that is used when there is an overflow of runners (typically more than 20). The highest-ranked competitors are placed at the traditional waterfall start line, while the lowest-ranked competitors are placed at the barrel. It is also known as a dual alley start.
  • Barrel: The curved start line, placed at the start of the one-turn stagger mark, that spans across only the lanes in the outermost half of the track. This start line used solely in the case of a barrel start by the lowest-ranked athletes.
  • Baton: The hollow tube that is passed between teammates in a relay race. The competitor must carry the baton throughout the entirety of his portion of the relay race in order for the run to be valid.
  • Bell Lap: The final lap of a race, so termed because a bell is commonly rung as soon as a competitor begins the last lap.
  • Blind Pass: A style of baton exchange where the incoming runner, without pausing or looking backwards, stretches out the arm holding the baton behind him for the outgoing runner to grasp.
  • Bounding: Also known as the power sprint, this is one of the four popular styles of takeoff for the long jump, in which the athlete vertically swings up one arm, while fully extending the other arm backwards behind the body. This technique results in a large upward impulse.
  • Break Line: Markings on the track that indicate when the competitors of a middle or a long distance race are allowed to begin running in lanes other than their pre-assigned ones.
  • Broad Jump: A jumping event in track and field, in which the competitor sprints down a runway, then leaps into a landing pit with the objective of travelling the furthest possible horizontal distance. Also referred to as the long jump.

C

  • Changeover: The passing of the baton from the incoming teammate to the outgoing teammate.
  • Check Mark: A marker placed on the side of the runway by an athlete before the start of an attempt. A check mark serves as a guide or a milestone during the approach run.
  • Chief Photo Finish Judge: The official who is responsible for determining the winner of a foot racing event, commonly through the examination of the photo finish.
  • Clerk: The official at a track and field event whose duties include enforcing the rules for uniform, shoes, and numbers, ensuring the competitors are in their designated positions, and keeping the competition on schedule.
  • Climbing: One of the three main flight techniques for the long jump, in which the athlete cycles both arms and legs, in a semblance of a continuation of the approach run. This style is also referred to as the hitch kick or running in the air.
  • College High: One of the 42-inch-high hurdles that are used for the men's 110 m hurdling event at the college and Olympic levels. Also referred to as the open high.
  • Cord: The smooth, non-slip surface that is placed over the javelin's center of gravity and is held by the competitor. Also referred to as the grip.
  • Crossbar: The horizontal bar that marks the minimum height that the high jumper or the pole vaulter must clear. A successful jump is defined as one in which the position of the crossbar remains intact throughout the entire attempt, from the moment the athlete's time is called to the moment he leaves the landing area.
  • Crossover: The step that takes place during the final two strides of the approach run in the javelin throw, during which the javelin is pulled back behind the athlete's body, and the leg opposite the throwing arm is brought to the front. Also referred to as the impulse step or the transition phase.
  • Crouch Start: A common type of starting position used for the hurdles, the sprints, and the 800 m events, in which the hands, the feet, and the knee of the rear leg are in contact with the ground, and the head is level with the back.
  • Cutting the Curve: A common mistake that is made during the final five steps of the 10-step approach, in which the athlete runs directly towards the center of the crossbar in a straight line, rather than following a smooth curve.

D

  • Dash: A foot-racing event in track and field that is typically held over a distance of 100 m, 200m, or 400 m. The key techniques of a dash are accelerating to one's maximum speed, and maintaining it for as long as possible. It is also commonly referred to as a sprint.
  • Discus Throw: A throwing event in track and field, in which the objective of the competitor is to launch the discus into the landing sector so that it travels the furthest possible horizontal distance.
  • Discus: The lens-shaped disc that is constructed of plastic, wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or metal, contains a metal core, and is evenly rimmed in smooth metal. The discus used for the men's discus throw weighs 2 kg and has a diameter of 22 cm, while the one used for the women's discus throw weighs 1 kg and has a diameter of 18 cm.
  • Double Arm Takeoff: A takeoff technique used in high jumping in which the athlete powerfully swings both arms to help launch himself over the crossbar.
  • Double Arm: One of the four popular styles of takeoff for the long jump, in which the athlete vertically swings up both arms, resulting in large vertical propulsion and a high hip height.
  • Drive Phase: The beginning segment of a sprint or an approach run, during which the athlete accelerates to top speed.
  • Drive Swing: The drive-swing is a move initiated by the vaulter after the launch, just as the pole begins bending backwards. During the drive-swing, the vaulter follows the backwards bending of the pole by arching his torso backwards as well, such that his chest moves ahead of his top arm to form a reverse "C".
  • Dual Alley Start: A type of race start positioning that is used when there is an overflow of runners. The highest-ranked competitors are placed at the traditional waterfall start line, while the lowest-ranked competitors are placed at the barrel. It is also known as a barrel start.

E

  • Even Split: A strategy primarily used in middle and long distance events, in which the entirety of the race is run at a steady speed and pace.
  • Exchange Zone: The 20m-long zone (10 m of which is an extension of the incoming runner's leg, and the other 10 m of which is a pre-extension of the outgoing runner's leg) where the baton must be exchanged between the incoming and the outgoing teammates. Also known as the passing zone.

F

  • Fair Jump: Refers to the execution of a valid jump in the long and high jump events, and is traditionally signaled by the raising of a white flag.
  • False Start: An invalid start to a race, caused by a competitor reacting within 0.12 seconds of the firing of the starter's gun. A false start is indicated by two successive shots from the starter's gun, and results in the immediate disqualification for the offending competitor and the restart of the race for the remaining athletes.
  • Field Event: All the sports in track and field that do not take place on the track, such as the long jump, high jump, pole vault, discus throw, and javelin throw.
  • Field: Also known as the infield, this is the area located inside the track. It consists of the soccer pitch and the throwing and jumping facilities, and is where the high jump, the pole vault, the discus throw, and the javelin throw are held.
  • Finish Line: The white line on the track that marks the end of all foot races. The competitor whose torso crosses the closest edge of this line first is deemed the winner of the race.
  • Finishing Kick: A sudden burst of speed put on by a competitor towards the end of a race. Also referred to as the kick.
  • Finnish Grip: A style of holding the javelin, in which the cord is grasped between the thumb and the middle finger.
  • Flight: (1) The step following the takeoff in the long jump, the high jump, and the pole vault, in which the athlete is airborne. (2) A series of preliminary field event rounds that are held in order to determine the qualifying athletes for the finals.
  • Flop Style: Popularized in the 1960's by American high jumper Dick Fosbury, this technique, in which the athlete travels head-first over the bar, facing upwards, came to dominate modern high jumping today. It is also referred to as the Fosbury Flop.
  • Fork Grip: A style of holding the javelin, in which the cord is grasped between the index finger and the middle finger.
  • Fosbury Flop: Popularized in the 1960's by American high jumper Dick Fosbury, this technique, in which the athlete travels head-first over the bar, facing upwards, came to dominate modern high jumping today. It is also referred to as the flop style.
  • Foul Jump: Refers to the execution of an invalid jump in the long and high jump event, and is traditionally signaled by the raising of a red flag.
  • Foul Line: The line drawn near the edge of the runway that marks the end of the approach run. If an athlete competing in the long jump, high jump, pole vault, or javelin throw event steps on or beyond this line during the approach run, the attempt will be declared a foul.
  • Foul Throw: Refers to the execution of a throw in the discus throw or the javelin throw event, in which the rules or the boundaries of the competition have been violated.
  • Four Point Start: Also known as the set position, this is the position that the athletes must assume at the command, "Set." The knee of the rear leg rises to an angle between 120 and 140 degrees while the knee of the front leg bends to a 90 degrees. The hips are also held at a higher level than the shoulders, and the majority of the body weight must be between the hands and the front leg.
  • Fully Automatic Timing System: A type of timing technology that is popularly used in track and field foot racing events. It is automatically activated by the firing of the starter's gun, and can accurately capture the finish time of each competitor through the analysis of a photo finish.

G

  • Grip Height: The distance from the athlete's top hand to the top of the vaulting pole.
  • Grip: The smooth, non-slip surface that is placed over the javelin's center of gravity and is held by the competitor. Also referred to as the cord.

H

  • Hang: One of the three main flight techniques for the long jump, in which the athlete fully stretches out the arms and legs into a star-jump position, a pose that is held until the peak of the jump.
  • Head Wind: A wind that is blowing against the direction that the athlete is heading towards.
  • Head: The sharp metal tip, 250 mm to 330 mm long, that is attached to the top end of the javelin shaft.
  • Heat: A single race within an event. For instance, there may be 4 heats in the quarterfinal round, 2 heats in the semifinal round, and 1 heat in the final round.
  • High Jump: A jumping event in track and field, in which the objective of the competitor is to clear, unaided, the greatest possible vertical height.
  • High School High: One of the 39-inch-high hurdles that are used for the boy's 110 m hurdling event at the high school level.
  • Hitch Kick: One of the three main flight techniques for the long jump, in which the athlete cycles both arms and legs in a semblance of a continuation of the approach run. This style is also referred to as climbing or running in the air.
  • Home Straight: The final straight stretch on the track that leads to the finish line.
  • Hurdle (object): One of the ten obstacles placed on the track during a hurdling race that must be successfully sprinted over.
  • Hurdles (event): A track and field event that can be described as a combination of jumping and foot racing, in which the competitors must sprint unaided over a series of 10 equidistant hurdles.

I

  • IAAF: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the official governing body for all international track and field championships.
  • Impact Area: The designated area upon which the implement in a throwing event must initially fall.
  • Implement: The object that is thrown by an athlete in a throwing event, such as the discus or the javelin.
  • Impulse Step: The step that takes place during the final two strides of the approach run in the javelin throw, during which the javelin is pulled back behind the athlete's body, and the leg opposite the throwing arm is brought to the front. Also referred to as the crossover or the transition phase.
  • Incoming Runner: The relay teammate who is finishing his leg of the race and is entering the exchange zone in order to pass on the baton.
  • Infield: Also known as the field, this is the area located inside the track. It consists of the soccer pitch and the throwing and jumping facilities, and is where the high jump, the pole vault, the discus throw, and the javelin throw are held.
  • Inside Lane: The 1.22m-wide division of the track closest to the field.
  • Intermediate: One of the 36-inch-high hurdles that are used for the men's 400 m hurdling event at the high school, college, and Olympic levels.

J

  • J-Curve Run-Up: The most popular approach run style in the high jump, in which the first five steps are run in a straight line towards one of the standards, and the final five steps are run in a curved path that brings the athlete towards the center of the crossbar. Also known as the 10-step approach.
  • Javelin Throw: A throwing event in track and field, in which the objective of the competitor is to launch the javelin into the landing sector so that it travels the furthest possible horizontal distance.
  • Javelin: The spearl-ike implement that is launched for distance in the javelin throw. For the men's event, the javelin must have a minimum length of 260 cm and a weight of 800 g. For the women's event, the javelin must have a minimum length of 220 cm and a weight of 600 g. The 3 main components of the javelin are the shaft, the head, and the grip.
  • Jump-Off: In the high jump and the pole vaulting events, a jump-off is a way of breaking a tie between two or more vaulters who have all cleared the greatest height thus far in the competition, and also have the same number of misses. In a jump-off, the tied athletes must progress to vault greater and greater heights, with one attempt per height, until only one vaulter succeeds and breaks the tie.
  • Junior: An athlete who is less than 20 years old.

K

  • Kick: (1) A sudden burst of speed put on by a runner towards the end of a race. Also referred to as the finishing kick. (2) One of the four popular styles of takeoff for the long jump, in which the athlete powerfully cycles his legs, allowing large horizontal distances to be cleared.

L

  • Landing Area: The thickly padded mat that is placed on the ground directly behind the crossbar in the high jump and the pole vault, and is designed to ensure the safety of the athlete throughout the attempt.
  • Landing Pit: The landing pit is the sunken sand-filled area or the thickly padded mattress located directly beyond the end of the runway. The landing pit is designed to ensure the safety of the athlete upon impact after the flight. The safest recommended position of landing in the landing pit is to lie flat on one's back, with both knees slightly bent.
  • Landing Sector: The wedge-shaped area with a soft, even surface, upon which the implement in a throwing event must initially land in order for the throw to be considered valid. Also known as the throwing sector.
  • Lane: The 1.22m-wide division of the track, bordered by white lines. Every competitor in a foot race is assigned to a specific lane, in which he must stay in either for the entirety of the race (for all sprinting and hurdling events) or for the first 100m (for the 800 m event). The standard athletic track typically has between 6 to 8 lanes.
  • Lap: One full revolution around the track, which is a distance of 400 m, as measured from the innermost lane.
  • Lead Leg: The outstretched front leg that moves over the hurdle first.
  • Lead-Off Leg: The first leg of a relay race.
  • Leg: One of the 4 sections that a relay race is divided into. A leg can only be run by a single designated team member.
  • Long Distance: A foot-racing event in track and field that is typically held over a distance of 3000 m, 5000 m, or 10 000 m. The most crucial skills required for the long distance are endurance and proper pacing.
  • Long Jump: A jumping event in track and field, in which the competitor sprints down a runway, then leaps into a landing pit with the objective of travelling the furthest possible horizontal distance. Also referred to as the broad jump.
  • Low Hurdle: One of the 30-inch-high hurdles that are used for the women's 400 m hurdling event at the high school, college, and Olympic levels.

M

  • Master: A athlete who is 40 years old or more.
  • Meet: A broad term that can be used to refer to any event in track and field.

N

  • Negative Split: A strategy primarily used in middle and long distance events, in which the second half of the race is run at a faster pace than the first half.

O

  • Open High: One of the 42-inch-high hurdles that are used for the men's 110 m hurdling event at the college and Olympic levels. Also referred to as the college high.
  • Outgoing Runner: The relay teammate who is preparing to start his leg of the race and is within the exchange zone in order to receive the baton.

P

  • Pace: The speed that a runner is able to continuously maintain over a certain prolonged distance.
  • Pass: A pass is a decision made by a competitor to advance onto the next designated height without attempting or clearing the prior one. There are no restrictions placed upon the number of times that a vaulter is allowed to pass. However, the event judge must be notified of the vaulter's decision to pass either before his time is called, or immediately after a miss.
  • Passing Zone: The 20m-long zone (10 m of which is an extension of the incoming runner's leg, and the other 10 m of which is a pre-extension of the outgoing runner's leg) where the incoming teammate must pass the baton to the outgoing teammate. Also known as the passing zone.
  • Photo Finish: A series of photos or video taken at the finish line, considered to be the most important evidence in determining the winner of a foot race. A very close race in which the winner is only distinguishable through further analysis of photographic evidence
  • Pin: Small, screw-shaped metal pieces that are inserted into the holes in the soles of spikes to provide grip on the track surface.
  • Pivot Leg: The leg that remains stationary and serves as the central point of revolution for the rest of the body, similar to the steady leg of a mathematical compass.
  • Plant Box: Also known as the slideway or the vaulting box, this is the meter-long box that is sunken into the ground directly in front of the crossbar. The dimensions of the plant box are unlike those of a regular rectangular prism's. For instance, its faces are trapezoidal, rather than pure squares, and the bottom of the box is angled on a slant to allow the efficient sliding of the vaulting pole towards the back of the box.
  • Plant: The plant is a maneuver performed by the vaulter during his final stride on the runway, in which he raises his arms over his head as high as he can and drives the pole directly into the slideway, guiding the bottom tip along the sloped incline until it comes into contact with the back face of the slideway.
  • Pole Vault: A jumping event in track and field, in which the objective of the athlete is to take advantage of the straightening motion of a bent vaulting pole to successfully catapult himself over the greatest height possible.
  • Positive Split: A strategy primarily used in middle and long distance events, in which the first half of the race is run at a faster pace than the second half.
  • Power Position: The position following the turn in the discus throw, in which the athlete leans his head backwards so that he is facing up, while his throwing arm, holding the discus, is angled downwards and stretched out to its maximum length behind the body.
  • Power Sprint: Also known as bounding, this is one of the four popular styles of takeoff for the long jump, in which the athlete vertically swings up one arm, while fully extending the other arm backwards behind the body. This technique results in a large upward impulse.
  • Protective Cage: The net surrounding the throwing circle in a U-shape, designed to protect the spectators and the officials from an inadvertent throw by the athlete into their direction. Thus, this net is strong enough to stop, without rebounding, the flight of a 2 kg discus travelling at 25 m
  • Pull Turn: The pull-turn is a maneuver that directly follows the completion of the swing-up. In a pull-turn, the athlete first pulls his bottom arm down towards his hips to vertically straighten his inverted body. He then uses his top arm to rotate his entire body in one complete revolution around the pole, which causes his legs and hips to rise even higher. The pull-turn is perhaps the most crucial maneuver of the entire vault, as it determines the height that the vaulter will be able to clear and consequently also dictate the success of the overall attempt.

R

  • Relays: A foot-racing event in track and field, in which the total racing distance is divided into 4 equal legs that 4 team members must each take turns running while carrying a baton. There are 4 types of relay races: the 4 x 100m, the 4 x 200 m, the 4 x 400 m, and the 4 x 800 m.
  • Release: A step in the discus throw, in which the athlete, shifting his weight forward onto the balls of his dominant leg, swings his throwing arm from its pivot position to a 35 degree angle by his shoulders, and smoothly releases the discus from his fingers.
  • Running in the Air: One of the three main flight techniques for the long jump, in which the athlete cycles both arms and legs, in a semblance of a continuation of the approach run. This style is also referred to as climbing or the hitch kick.
  • Runway: The designated stretch of all-weather polyurethane surfacing where the approach runs in the long jump, high jump, pole vault, and javelin throw events are performed. When vaulting, a powerful runway sprint is crucial for a successful vault, as the energy generated during this sprint is transferred into the pole when it is planted at the back of the slideway, and is thus what powers the athlete over the crossbar.

S

  • Sail: One of the three main flight techniques for the long jump, in which the athlete straightens and raises both legs while stretching out the arms and leaning the torso forward into a toe-touch position.
  • Scratch Line: The foul line in the javelin throw. Also referred to as the throwing arc.
  • Set Position: Also known as the four point start, this is the position following the crouch start that the athletes must assume at the command, "Set." The knee of the rear leg rises to an angle between 120 and 140 degrees while the knee of the front leg bends to a 90 degrees. The hips are also held at a higher level than the shoulders, and the majority of the body weight must be between the hands and the front leg.
  • Shaft: The main body of the javelin, to which the head and the grip are attached. It is commonly made of wood or metal, and can be either hollow or solid. However, it must taper to a point on both ends, and the entirety of its surface must also be smooth and even.
  • Shift: The shift is a move executed by the vaulter when he is two strides away from reaching the end of the runway. In a shift, the vaulter lowers the bottom end of the pole, angling it towards the slideway, while simultaneously allowing his lower hand to slip up the pole toward his upper hand.
  • Single Arm Takeoff: A takeoff technique used in high jumping in which the athlete powerfully swings only one arm to help launch himself over the crossbar.
  • Sit and Kick: A strategy prominently used in foot races of distances greater than 1500 m, in which the competitor accelerates towards maximum speed during the final stages of the race. It ia also known as a sprint finish.
  • Slideway: Also known as the plant box or the vaulting box, this is the meter-long box that is sunken into the ground directly in front of the crossbar. The dimensions of the slideway are unlike those of a regular rectangular prism's. For instance, its faces are trapezoidal, rather than pure squares, and the bottom of the box is angled on a slant to allow the efficient sliding of the vaulting pole towards the back of the box. On his final stride before take-off, the vaulter must raise his arms over his head as high as he can, making sure that his top arm stays behind his ear, and begin to drive the pole directly into the slideway. Then, as the pole becomes planted at the back of the slideway, the vaulter must use the drive from his take-off leg to launch himself into the air.
  • Spikes: Specialty lightweight shoes that contain holes on the soles for pins, and are worn by athletes for traction on the track surface.
  • Split: The total time taken to run a specific distance. For instance, the time taken to run 200 m would be referred to as the 200 m split.
  • Sprint (long jump): One of the four popular styles of takeoff for the long jump, in which the athlete vertically swings up only one arm and leaves the other bent at the elbow, resembling a sprinter in full stride. This technique allows for the preservation of the final maximum speed attained during the approach run, just before the initiation of the takeoff.
  • Sprint Finish: A strategy prominently used in foot races of distances greater than 1500 m, in which the competitor accelerates towards maximum speed during the final stages of the race. It ia also known as a sit and kick.
  • Sprint: A foot-racing event in track and field that is typically held over a distance of 100 m, 200m, or 400 m. The key technique of a sprint are accelerating to one's maximum speed, and maintaining it for as long as possible. It is also known as a dash.
  • Stagger Start: A strategy for the 200 m, 400 m, and 800 m races, in which the start line in each lane are progressively moved up, beginning with the lanes closest to the field. This ensures that all the competitors are running the same distance, as the diameter of the outer lanes are greater than the diameter of the inner lanes.
  • Standard Competition Area: The IAAF's recommended layout of the events over the arena, which allows multiple different events to be held simultaneously, while minimizing congestions, disruptions, and conflicts of interest.
  • Standards: The two upright posts that support the crossbar from either side. Also referred to as the uprights.
  • Standing Start: A common type of starting position used in middle and long distance events, in which all the competitors begin the race in an upright, standing stance.
  • Start Line: The white line on the track that marks the beginning of a foot race. The competitor cannot touch or cross over this line before the start of the race has been officially declared.
  • Starter: The official or referee who announces the starting commands, fires the starter's gun, and determines whether any false starts have been made.
  • Starter's Gun: A blank handgun that is fired by the starter to indicate the start of a foot race.
  • Starting Block: Two adjustable footplates, attached to a rigid frame, against which the competitor must brace his feet before the start of all sprinting and hurdling events.
  • Straight: The 84.39 m stretch of all-weather polyurethane surface that connects the two semicircles of radius 36.50 m. This is where the 100 m sprints take place.
  • Straightaway: One of the 84.39m-long straights that has been extended beyond the curves to allow the athletes competing in the 100 m sprints and the 80 m, 110 m, and 110 m hurdles to run the entirety of the race in a straight line.
  • Stutter Stepping: The shortening of stride length as an athlete approaches the hurdle, which decreases both speed and momentum.

T

  • Tail Wind: A wind that is blowing in the same direction that the athlete is heading towards. For any track and event that is performed solely in one linear direction, the maximum allowable tail wind speed is 2.0 m
  • Takeoff Board: The white, 4-feet-long, 8-inches-wide rectangle that is placed on the long jump runway immediately before the foul line. The takeoff board is where competitors commonly launch into the take off in a long jump event.
  • Takeoff: The step following the approach run in the long jump, the high jump, and the pole vault, in which the athlete launches himself into the air and enters flight.
  • The 10 Step Approach: The most popular approach run style in the high jump, in which the first five steps are run in a straight line towards one of the standards, and the final five steps are run in a curved path that brings the athlete towards the center of the crossbar. Also known as the J-curve run-up.
  • Three Step Technique: A technique used for the 100 m and the 110 m hurdling events, in which the athlete completes the race by only taking 3 long strides between every hurdle.
  • Throwing Arc: The foul line in the javelin throw. Also referred to as the scratch line.
  • Throwing Circle: The concrete circle of diameter 2.5 m, bordered by a rim with a thickness of 6 mm, within whose boundaries the discus must be thrown from.
  • Throwing Sector: The wedge-shaped area with a soft, even surface, upon which the implement in a throwing event must initially land in order for the throw to be considered valid. Also known as the landing sector.
  • Track Event: All the sports in track and field that take place on the track, such as the sprints, the middle distance races, the long distance races, the relays, and the hurdles.
  • Track: The oval, all-weather polyurethane surface that rims the soccer pitch and the throwing and jumping facilities. It is composed of two semicircles, each of which has a radius of 36.5 m (as measured from the innermost lane), that are joined together by two 84.39 m straights. The track is where all the foot racing events are held.
  • Trail Leg: The bent back leg that follows the lead leg over the hurdle.
  • Transition Phase: The step that takes place during the final two strides of the approach run in the javelin throw, during which the javelin is pulled back behind the athlete's body, and the leg opposite the throwing arm is brought to the front. Also referred to as the crossover or the impulse step.
  • Trial: A singe attempt in a field event.
  • Turn: A step in the discus throw, in which the athlete pivots towards the front of the throwing circle in a series of 3 half-revolutions.

U

  • Uprights: The two upright posts that support the crossbar from either side. Also referred to as the standards.
  • USATF: USA Track and Field (USATF) is the official US governing body for all national track and field championships. In addition, as the American member federation of the IAAF and a member of the United States Olympic Committee, the USATF is also responsible for selecting the American competitors for the Summer Olympics and the Pan American Games.

V

  • Vault: An attempt made by an athlete to clear the crossbar in a pole vaulting event
  • Vaulting Box: Also known as the slideway or the plant box, this is the meter-long box that is sunken into the ground directly in front of the crossbar. The dimensions of the vaulting box are unlike those of a regular rectangular prism's. For instance, its faces are trapezoidal, rather than pure squares, and the bottom of the box is angled on a slant to allow the efficient sliding of the vaulting pole towards the back of the box.
  • Vaulting Pole: The smooth, flexible pole that aids pole vaulters in clearing the maximum possible vertical height. It may be of any length or diameter and may also be constructed of any material or combination of materials, although fiberglass remains the most popular choice today.

W

  • Waterfall Start Line: The continuous curved start line that is used in a waterfall start or a barrel start.
  • Waterfall Start: A type of race start positioning, commonly used for the 1500 m, the mile, the 3000 m, the 5000 m, and the 10 000 m events, which places all the competitors at the same continuous curved start line.
  • Wind Assistance: A tail wind that is blowing at a speed greater than 2.0 m
  • WIndup: The beginning stage of the discus throw, in which the athlete swings the discus from one side of his body to the other in order to establish balance and rhythm.
  • Women's High: One of the 33-inch-high hurdles that are used for the women's 100 m hurdling event at the high school, college, and Olympic levels.