PAN AM Athletics – Track and Field Footwork

pan am athletics     A 200 meter foot race called ‘stadion’ was the only event for the first thirteen Olympics more than 2700 years ago. The runners were barefoot (in fact, nude) and they started in a standing position.  The most grueling competition, in those days, was the foot race in full battle armour.  Longer distance running entered the arena of competition in and after the 14th Olympics.

Fast-forward to 2015, track and field athletics are prolific in variety….running short and long distances, jumping high and long, plus several oddball throwing events. There are even combinations of up to ten events performed by one athlete.  Changes overtime are a testimony to athletes’ increasing agility, strength and endurance, not to mention the watching world’s wider arena.


Focus: The Footwork of Race Walking

This most unusual of foot races is deceptively difficult. It is called ‘heel and toe’ walking; the heel of the front foot and the toe of the rear foot appear to be in contact with the ground at the same time.  Staying ‘grounded’ is a rule; one foot must be in contact with the ground at all times.  The other rule is that the knee of the leading leg must be straight when the heel strikes the ground until that leg passes under the body. Race walkers speed up and lengthen their strides by swiveling and tilting their hips.

Race Walking judges, positioned around the track, watch for infractions and enforce the rules with yellow and red cards.  As they rely on eye sight alone, there have been calls for technical assistance in judging. A ‘shoe alarm’, triggered when a race walker’s feet were off the ground for more than 30 or 40 milliseconds, was a passing idea.

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)



Green Pedestrian Crossings in Shanghai


Pedestrians walk into a crosswalk and plant green leaves with every footstep.  A campaign by DDB China Group uses street art to promote walking.  While there is no guarantee that awareness will shift in a country that now boasts 500 million cars; it is an advocacy movement taking one step at a time. 

“We decided to leverage a busy pedestrian crossing; a place where both pedestrians and drivers meet. We lay a giant canvas of 12.6 meters long by 7 meters wide on the ground, covering the pedestrian crossing with a large leafless tree. Placed on either side of the road beneath the traffic lights, were sponge cushions soaked in green environmentally friendly washable and quick dry paint. As pedestrians walked towards the crossing, they would step onto the green sponge and as they walked, the soles of their feet would make foot imprints onto the tree on the ground. Each green footprint added to the canvas like leaves growing on a bare tree, which made people feel that by walking they could create a greener environment.”

After an initial deployment on seven Shanghai streets, the award-winning Crossing was later expanded to 132 roads in 15 Chinese cities. DDB estimates that 3.9 million people participated. Predictably, it blew up across Chinese media channels, and was even featured in the Shanghai Zheng Da Art Museum.