Athletics is a collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types of athletics competition are track and field, road running, cross country running and race walking.
The International Association of Athletics Federations, the sport's governing body, defines athletics in five disciplines: track and field, road running, race walking, cross country running, and mountain running. All forms of athletics are individual sports with the exception of relay races. However, athletes' performances are often tallied together by country at international championships and in the case of cross country the finishing positions of the top athletes from each team or country are combined to declare a team victor.
The results of racing events are decided by finishing position (or time, where measured), while the jumps and throws are won by the athlete that achieves the highest or furthest measurement from a series of attempts. The simplicity of the competition and the lack of a need for expensive equipment, makes athletics one of the most commonly competed sports in the world. Athletics is mostly an individual sport, with the exception of relay races and competitions, which combine athletes' performances for a team score, such as cross country.