As you might know, relay races typically involve team members working together and taking turns on a racecourse, like in swimming, running, or skiing. The Olympics have some relay races, but did you know that there is an international tournament solely dedicated to relay races? That’s right. This year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) held the World Relays in Yokohama, Japan. We found three interesting facts about these races:
In 2017, a mixed gender 4 x 400 meter relay race was introduced. That means there are four team members, each of whom runs 400 meters, but two must be identified as male and two as female. In fact, the mixed gender relay could even make its way into the Olympics in 2020! This year, the United States swept the mixed relay races (which means they won them all). Did you know that in the Olympics, only ice skating, tennis, and equestrian events are mixed gender?
Two countries tied for second place in the overall medal count this year: Jamaica and Japan. Both countries won twenty-seven medals each. The United States won first place with fifty-four medals; they’ve reached the top spot at every tournament since these relay games began in 2014.
Race walking is also a relay sport! Race walkers, who must have at least one foot on the ground at all times, can compete in 20-kilometer or 50-kilometer races. That’s 12.5 and 31 miles, respectively!