The sport of athletics (track and field) has its roots in human prehistory. These events are among the oldest of all sporting competitions as running, jumping, and throwing are natural and universal forms of human physical expression. The sport embodies the Olympic motto, "Citius, Fortius, Altius" faster, stronger, higher with events recorded at the ancient Olympic Games and were considered the foremost sport competitions at the first Olympic Summer Games.
Generally, athletics competitions are contested by individual athletes challenging each other to decide a single winner. Running race events are won with the fastest time, while jumping and throwing events are won with the greatest distance or height. Combined events, such as the pentathlon, feature multiple events where points are awarded and totaled with the winner earning the most points. Team relays are always an exciting part of an athletics meet and are usually scheduled as the final events on the last day of the competition.
Para athletics events for wheelchair racing, discus, and javelin are included in the Canada Summer Games. Para sport began in 1944, when Sir Ludwig Guttman introduced sport into the field of rehabilitation. The first International Stoke-Mandeville Wheelchair Games took place in 1948.
The Special Olympics movement for athletes with an intellectual disability began in the 1950's and were championed by Enice Kennedy Shriver. Year round programs and competition are offered in BC for 4100 athletes with the support of 3200 trained volunteers. Special Olympians will compete in athletics and swimming at the Canada Summer Games.