The rapidly-approaching summer will bring with it a feast of different sporting events – including many which were postponed from 2020 – and none is bigger than the Summer Olympics.
In anticipation of the games in Tokyo, we’ve analysed every track and field event in history to reveal which nations have been the most successful.
The United States is by far the best-performing nation in the history of track and field events at the Olympic Games.
American athletes have won 315 of the 842 gold medals available – more than the next eight most successful nations combined.
Their combined haul of 735 medals – including silvers and bronzes – is almost three times that of the next most decorated countries; Germany (234) and Russia (217).
In five of the eight track and field categories – sprints, hurdling, relays, jumping and combined events – the USA tops the all-time medal table for both men and women.
One of American athletes’ few points of relative weakness is long-distance running.
It may surprise you to learn that for men’s events in this category, it is Finland who top the all-time medal table, although they have not earned one since 1980.
Ethiopia’s recent successes mean that they are on course to overtake the Finns and their athletes already dominate the women’s events, having won eight of the 14 gold medals available in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres to date.
The 3,000 metres steeplechase is another event in which other nations have excelled, with the last nine men’s Olympic events having been won by a Kenyan.
There is also a gender disparity in the four throwing events, as American men have been dominant in this category, winning more than three times as many medals as any other nation (111 to 34).
However, it is Germany and Russia who are the nations to beat in the female equivalents, claiming 14 golds each, while no other team has more than five.
The only men’s throwing event in which Americans don’t lead the way is the javelin, where again it is Finland who reign supreme with seven gold medals.
Great Britain could soon overtake the United States in the heptathlon all-time medal table, having reached the podium in each of the last six Summer Olympics.