CROSS COUNTRY SET FOR YOUTH OLYMPICS
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