Commemorative issue 1974 Summer & Winter Olympic Games
Track and field is one of the classic areas of competition in the Olympic Games. For 11 centuries, starting in 776 B.C., the Olympic Games of ancient Greece were contested by men only. The Romans continued the tradition until the Christian emperor Theodosius banned the games in 394 A.D. The Olympics were revived in 1896. Although of initial limited appeal, the games caught the interest of athletes and began to grow. With that growth, track and field grew into an international sport. Women's participation in track and field is relatively recent. Representatives from six countries formed an athletic federation for women. It merged with the International Amateur Athletic Federation in 1936.