When people think of athletics they generally think about the 100m, the Pole Vault, the Long Jump and the Hurdle Events. Today we will review the Hurdle, since the first modern Olympics in 1896 the 110m Hurdle has been one of the foremost events of an athletics competition.
This event is said to have originated from English Shepherds in the 19th Century as they would have to clear fences… After many years this event was made official as the Men’s 110m Hurdle. Each of the 10 hurdles was set at the height of the traditional fences (106.7cm) in the English country side.
In modern athletics there are currently four Hurdle events – Men’s 110m & 400m Hurdles & Women’s 100m & 400m Hurdles. As stated earlier the Men’s Hurdles are set at a height of 106.7cm while the Women’s are set at 83.8 cm for the 110m and 100m events respectively.
In the Hurdle events it is okay for an athlete to knock down every single Hurdle with his/her feet, this will not lead to a disqualification. But if an athlete touches any part of the Hurdle, crosses into another athletes lane, or obstructs a fellow athlete, this can lead to a quick disqualification.
In order to clear each Hurdle perfectly, the athlete needs to employ soft jumping techniques in order to reduce landing time, while also maintaining proper stride between each of the hurdles. In the early stages of the competitions the competitors were accustomed to jumping over the hurdles rather than striding over them as the athletes of today do. This modern technique was developed by Alvin Kraenzlein (USA), which he employed during the 1900 Paris Olympic Games where he took the gold in both the 110m and 200m Hurdles.