Host City: Antwerpen, Belgium
Date Started: August 15, 1920
Date Finished: August 23, 1920
Participants: 509 (509 men and 0 women) from 25 countries
Youngest Participant: Diego Ordóñez (16 years, 283 days)
Oldest Participant: Matt McGrath (42 years, 243 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Paavo Nurmi and Eric Backman (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): United States (29 medals)
Track & field athletics was the most highly awaited sport on the Olympic program. It was contested in the Stadium of the Royal Beerschot Athletic Club, usually known as the Beerschot Stadium. The stadium could hold approximately 29,500 people. The track was slightly under 389.80 metres in length and was wet and soft throughout the Olympics, leading to rather poor times.
The competition in Antwerp was still quite good in track & field. Among Olympic competition, only Stockholm rivalled it and it was now becoming apparent that the Olympics were attracting a truly international field. Track & field had been contested at the 1919 Inter-Allied Championships, and national championships had been held in 1919 and 1920 in both the United States and Great Britain. Still, because of the dearth of recent competition, due to World War I, it was difficult to choose favorites in many of the events.
In general, times were never published in 1920, and possibly not taken, for the non-winners. Later sources have often listed times for the non-winners, but these are almost certainly estimates. We have not used them. Rather, we have listed margins between places, based on contemporary 1920 newspaper reports. We have then derived our own estimates, based on these margins and the average speed of the races.