As an intro to the 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships, which will happen in Istanbul, Turkey from March 2-5, 2023, the European Indoor Championships site provided us this piece on the history of indoor tracks at the European Championships.
Today’s oval tracks are standardized for 200 meters by the championships in the late eighties.
Indoor athletics has transformed over the years from contested events to measurements of technical materials. Today’s oval tracks are standardized for 200 meters by the championships in the late eighties.
European Athletics Indoor Championships was inaugurated in Wien’s Stadthalle, which has been active for indoor events for more than 60 years. On 14-15 March 1970, a 200-meter oval indoor track was installed for athletics. But some of the subsequent events, until 1986, were held in the shorter oval tracks, which caused some differences in relay races on the program due to the irregular lap lengths. For instance, the relay races had been contested as 4×1 lap and 4×2 laps during 1972 Grenoble or 4×4 laps in 1973 Rotterdam.
Including two pre-events (organized under the name of European Indoor Games) of the European Indoors, here are the short curved tracks that hosted official championships since the beginning:
1966 Dortmund (Games) – 160 meters track
1967 Prague (Games) – 150 meters track
1968 Madrid (Games) – 182 meters track
1969 Belgrade (Games) – 195 meters track
1972 & 1981 Grenoble – 180 meters track
1973 Rotterdam – 170 meters track
1974 & 1984 Gothenburg – 196 meters track
1975 Katowice – 160 metres track
1976 Munich – 179 meters track
1986 Madrid – 164 meters track
The measurement and the number of lanes were less than today’s practice in all track races with laps. Most of the 200 and 400 meters finals were run by four finalists until 1987.
In 1987, the “capital city of French Indoor athletics,” Lievin hosted the 18th edition of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in a 200 meters curved track which was still short of something compared to today’s look: the straight middle lanes.
Six straight lanes were reserved for 60 meters dash and hurdles, which is not standardized to eight lanes until the 1998 edition in Valencia. From 1998, all short sprint races were contested with eight possible competitors.
To see the story in its original form, please go to: https://www.istanbul2023.org/en/news/curved-and-short.html