Christ the Redeemer statue overlooks Maracana Stadium, venue of the opening ceremony for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
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Brazil’s athletics timeline leading to Rio 2016

With just 200 days to go until the athletics starts at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the host nation is adding the finishing touches to what looks set to be a spectacular sporting event.

It will be the biggest athletics competition ever witnessed in Brazil. As the timeline below shows, the South American country has come a long way over the past 100 years.

1900

Adolphe Klingelhoeffer competes in three events at the Olympic Games in Paris. Although he was born and raised in Paris and had always been listed as French, he was in fact a Brazilian national at the time of the Olympics and so effectively became Brazil’s first Olympian.

1914

Federacao Brasiliera de Sportes Athleticos, the first Brazilian athletics federation, was founded, as was the Comite Olimpico do Brasil, the Brazil Olympic Committee.

1919

Sao Paulo hosts the first recorded athletics competition in Brazil.

1922

Rio hosts the Latin American Championships, doubling as the unofficial South American Championships. The first major international athletics event in Brazil, it was held under the patronage of the IOC in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Brazilian independence.

1924

Having officially sent their first Olympic team to the 1920 Games in Antwerp, it wasn’t until four years later in Paris when Brazil was represented in athletics at the Olympics. Of the eight athletics in attendance, Eurico de Freitas was the country’s top performer, finishing 11th in the pole vault final.

1925

Brazil holds its first national championships.

1937

Sao Paulo hosts the South American Championships. Brazil would go on to stage the event on numerous other occasions with Sao Paulo hosting it in 1954, 1987 and 2007, Rio hosting it in 1947, 1965 and 1975, and Manaus playing host in 1991, 1995 and 2001.

1938

Jose Bento de Assis clocks 10.2 over 100m in Rio to equal the world record time that was held by Jesse Owens. The performance was initially not submitted as a world record because local officials noted there was a strong cross wind and assumed the mark was wind-assisted. In 2014 researchers found the original race report submitted to the Brazilian federation, which declared that the race was not wind assisted and that the record was not submitted because it was a handicap race.

1950

Adhemar Ferreira da Silva sets a triple jump world record of 16.00m in Sao Paulo, the first official athletics world record to be set in Brazil.

1951

Adhemar Ferreira da Silva improves his triple jump world record to 16.01m at the National Championships at the Maracana Stadium. To this day, it remains the only athletics world record to be set in Rio.

1952

Adhemar Ferreira da Silva twice improves his own triple jump record en route to winning Olympic gold in Helsinki, Brazil’s first Olympic title in athletics. Three years later, he

1956

Having extended his world record to 16.56m one year prior, Adhemar Ferreira da Silva wins his second Olympic triple jump title.

1963

The Pan American Games is held in Brazil for the first time with Sao Paulo playing host. The top national performers were men’s steeplechase silver medallist Sebastiao Mendes and women’s long jump silver medallist Iris dos Santos.

1967

Sao Paulo witnesses the first ever throw beyond 60 metres in the women’s discus when West Germany’s Liesel Westermann sets a world record of 61.26m.

1968

In an Olympic triple jump final in which the world record was broken by four different athletes, Brazil’s Nelson Prudencio briefly held the world record with his fifth-round leap of 17.27m. It was beaten five minutes later by Viktor Saneyev and Prudencio had to settle for the silver medal.

1975

At the Pan American Games in Mexico City, Joao Carlos de Oliveira sets a triple jump world record of 17.89m. To date, he is the last Brazilian athlete to set an athletics world record.

1977

The Confederação Brasileira de Atletismo, the current national federation, is founded.

1984

Joaquim Cruz wins Olympic 800m gold in Los Angeles, Brazil’s first Olympic title in a track event.

1985

The Grande Premio Brasil Caixa de Atletismo is held for the first time. The first 11 editions were held in Sao Paulo, before moving on to Rio and Belem.

1987

Zequinha Barbosa wins gold in the 800m at the 1987 World Indoor Championships, Brazil’s first world indoor title.

1989

Rio hosts the IAAF World Women’s Race Race Championships (now discontinued), Brazil’s first IAAF event.

1998

Manaus stages the IAAF World Road Relay Championships (now discontinued). Hosts Brazil take bronze in the men’s race.

Ronaldo da Costa breaks the long-standing marathon world record, running 2:06:05 in Berlin. He covered the second half in 1:01:43 and the last 10km in 29:05.

1999

Brazil wins three medals at the IAAF World Championships in Seville, its best ever haul at a global championships.

2008

Rio stages the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.

2010

Pole vaulter Fabiana Murer wins the world indoor title in Doha.

2011

Fabiana Murer wins Brazil’s first gold medal at the IAAF World Championships, winning the pole vault.

2012

Mauro Vinicius da Silva wins the world indoor long jump title in Istanbul.

2014

Maura Vinicius da Silva successfully defends his world indoor long jump title in Sopot.

2016

Rio hosts the Olympic Games, the first Olympics to be held in South America.