At the high school level, my local district limited an athlete to four events in one track and field meet. Famous sprinters like Carl Lewis have won four gold medals in one meet and other track and field athletes often compete in multiple related events (shotput and discus, sprints and relays, sprints and various jumps, etc.).

Without considering scheduling and logistical conflicts, and the physical limitations of the athlete, is there rule that limits on the number of track and field events that an athlete may enter in one meet, assuming that this athlete had the requisite skill to compete in each entered event?

  • Don't think that there will be any, as swimmers usually take part in more than 4 events anyway.
    – rest_day
    Feb 29, 2012 at 0:44
  • True, but I believe that track and field is governed by a different group than the swimmers (the International Association of Athletics Federations).
    – JW8
    Feb 29, 2012 at 0:56
  • oh, I had Olympics in mind.
    – rest_day
    Feb 29, 2012 at 1:10
  • @rest_day, even in the Olympics I've only heard of a max of 4 events - wasn't sure if there's some obscure rule or more practical reasons. For sure, swimmers (like Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps) enter many more events
    – JW8
    Feb 29, 2012 at 1:18
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    Logistically, though (once you've got around the physical toll of multiple events), there's only one swimming pool so it's a lot easier to do multiple events, with athletics unless you stick to just the track, the field events can (and often do) run simultaneously.
    – Unsliced
    Feb 29, 2012 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


I looked through the IAAF Competition Rules [PDF]. The most relevant piece I saw was rule 142.3, Simultaneous Entries, which basically permits the referee to allow a participant to compete in the high jump or pole vault out-of-order. I didn't find anything from the IOC, but I doubt they'd impose an extra limit (especially considering the apparent lack of one in swimming). Plus, the rules are focused on preventing athletes from gaining an unfair advantage, I don't think more events are going to help an athlete gain an advantage.

There may be high-school athletic associations that limit event entries, IIRC my high school association had a limit of four, which couldn't all be the same area (Track|Field), e.g. 3 track and a field event.

  • Olympic sports are organized under the rules of the relevant international governing body, so you are correct that Olympic athletics competition is governed by World Athletics (formerly IAAF) rules.
    – pjmorse
    Aug 1, 2023 at 15:25

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