It is another 18 months before the Rio Olympics get underway but the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF have already announced the full schedule for athletics events. In modern times, one important consideration in staging sporting events is the convenience of the world-wide television audience that watches their favorite sports on television. Since sport is deeply intermingled with commerce these days, the visibility also becomes a factor of paramount importance for business advertisers, who pay hefty sums of money to the broadcasters for trade promotions. To set rumors at rest, IAAF has announced the detailed program for the athletics last week. The major difference in timings is concerned with staging the finals in morning sessions on nearly all days, on which athletic events have been scheduled. IAAF Competitions Director Paul Hardy clarified that staging finals in the morning was done at the behest of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and the Olympic Broadcasting Service, which is supported by the International Olympic Committee. After due deliberations, everyone agreed that if the finals are held in the morning sessions, the maximum televised coverage can large be ensured across all time zones.
As per the IAAF announcement, there is at least one final in all morning sessions. This is the first time since the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul that Rio will feature athletic events during morning sessions. All the five road events, which include two marathons and three race walk events will be conducted in the in the morning sessions. However, 20km race walks for men and women will take place in the early afternoon. Other morning finals include; women’s 10,000m, men’s and women’s 3000m steeplechase, men’s 400m hurdles, men’s triple jump, men’s and women’s discus, and the women’s hammer throw. In all, 13 finals will be organized in the mornings. But there are many key events, which will be staged in late evenings as well.
Out of 10 days of athletic program between August 12 and 21, 2016, only August 20th will have no finals. The first final will be women’s 10000m, which will be held on August 12. The men’s 10000m is scheduled in the evening session on August 13. The women’s marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will take place Sunday morning, August 14, 2016, while men’s marathon has been scheduled exactly a week later, on Sunday morning, August 21, 2016. The finals of other notable athletic events are;
– Women’s Shot Put: Friday August 12 (evening)
– Men’s Discus Saturday August 13 (morning)
– Men’s Long Jump, Men’s 10000m, Women’s 100m Saturday August 13 (evening)
– Women’s Triple Jump, Men’s 400m, Men’s 100m Saturday August 14 (evening)
– Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase: Monday, August 15 (morning)
– Men’s 800: Monday, August 15 (evening)
– Women’s 1,500: Tuesday, August 16 (evening)
– Men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase: Wednesday, August 17 (morning)
– Men’s 1,500: Thursday, August 18 (evening)
– Women’s 5,000: Friday, August 19 (evening)
– Men’s, 1,500: Saturday, August 20 (evening)
– Women’s 800: Saturday, August 20 (evening)
– Men’s 5,000: Saturday, August 20 (evening)
Men and women’s 100m and 200m sprints will be most glamorous events but all these will be held in the evening hours. Usain Bolt will try for his third straight title in Rio on Sunday August 14 and on August 18 Bolt may also have a go at the 200m title. That day could the last for Bolt in the individual events of Olympic Games since he has already announced retirement plans before the 2020 Olympics. Bolt may come back on August 19 for the 4×100 relay as well to sign off from Olympic participations. Equally glamorous will be women’s 100 and 200m sprints, where stars like Allyson Felix will try their luck.
IAAF officials are confident that long and middle distance runners will welcome this change to the athletics program at the Olympics as they often have competitions throughout the year in the morning. Several road or cross-country races and city marathons are conducted in the morning and therefore the athletes are already accustomed to running in early hours.