Athletics Weekly - - News -

CROSS-COUN­TRY run­ning is re­turn­ing to the Olympics af­ter 94 years. It is only the Youth Olympics – in Buenos Aires next year – but it could be a ma­jor step on the way to the dis­ci­pline be­ing in­cluded in the main Olympic Games it­self.

Ex­cite­ment im­me­di­ately spread through­out the cross-coun­try com­mu­nity af­ter web­site In­side the Games broke the news, fol­lowed by an IAAF press re­lease that con­tained more de­tails.

The for­mat will not be in the shape of a sim­ple race, though. The IAAF ex­plained:

“As has been the case since the in­au­gu­ral Youth Olympic Games in 2010, there are two stages to each in­di­vid­ual ath­let­ics dis­ci­pline.

“In stage one of the

1500m, 3000m and 2000m steeplechase, all ath­letes will com­pete in a heat of their in­di­vid­ual event. In the sec­ond stage of the com­pe­ti­tion, all ath­letes from those three events will com­pete in a com­bined 4-5km (dis­tance to be con­firmed) cross-coun­try event, one race for boys and one for girls.

“The plac­ings of ath­letes in each in­di­vid­ual event and in the cross-coun­try race will be added to de­ter­mine the over­all fi­nal plac­ings, with the ath­lete hav­ing the low­est to­tal score be­ing the over­all win­ner. The re­sults of the cross-coun­try race will be ad­justed to re­flect sep­a­rate rank­ings for the 1500m, 3000m and 2000m steeplechase re­spec­tively with medals be­ing al­lo­cated ac­cord­ingly.

“For ex­am­ple, an ath­lete plac­ing sec­ond in the 3000m and fourth of the 3000m run­ners in the cross-coun­try race will re­ceive a fi­nal score of six points.”

The race is ex­pected to take place around the perime­ter of the Olympic Park and IAAF pres­i­dent Seb Coe said: “Cross coun­try is the en­durance bedrock on which middle and long dis­tance run­ning is founded. We need to help en­sure that coaches un­der­stand cross coun­try’s im­por­tance to an ath­lete’s de­vel­op­ment and back­ground. It was a vi­tal com­po­nent to my suc­cess on the track.

“I’m there­fore de­lighted at the in­no­va­tive way that track and cross coun­try have been com­bined at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Over­all suc­cess at the 1500m, 3000m and 2000m steeplechase track events in Buenos Aires is di­rectly linked to cross coun­try per­for­mance.

“It is a per­sonal view and a long held one but I would love to see cross coun­try back in the Olympic Games,” he added.

Cross coun­try com­pe­ti­tion will be in­cluded in next year’s Youth Olympics

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