Road to Paris 2024: Repechage Rounds Added to Athletics, Track Events for Summer 2024 Games

World Athletics announced that repechage rounds will be introduced to all individual track events at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Here’s a rundown of what this new rule means.

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There is a tweak in the next Summer Games’ rundown, and it concerns track and field.

The sport will see some new additions in 2024 – repechage rounds. As a change to the typical competition format, repechage rounds will be implemented in all individual track events from 200m to 1500m, including hurdles.

Let’s take a look at what track fans can expect for the next iteration of the Paris Games:

What is a repechage round?

It’s basically a second chance. Typically, in each first round heat on the track, a certain number of athletes qualify for the second round by finishing in the automatic qualifying positions. Regardless of their finishing time, the top three finishers, for example, would qualify for the next round.

However, under the new modifications, athletes who fail to qualify in the automatic qualifying positions in the first round actually have a second chance to do so. By taking part in repechage heats, they have an opportunity to qualify for the semifinals. 

How do repechage heats differ from the usual system?

According to the former system used in track, athletes would advance solely through fastest running times. They would be called “lucky losers” because they would be added into the group of athletes who accomplished top placings in the heat.

What are the benefits of adding repechage rounds?

A positive note that comes out of the addition of repechage rounds is simply more opportunity for athletes to strut their stuff.

With this modification, every athlete competing in events that have a repechage round will get to run at least two races at the 2024 Summer Olympics.

What are the detriments of adding repechage rounds?

The hindrance would be that the events will now take longer. Rather than having three rounds, now there are four rounds – round one, repechage round, semifinals and the final.

Why is track and field seeing a change in 2024?

World Athletics announced on July 25 that repechage rounds would be introduced to all individual track events. 

“The repechage rounds will give more exposure to our sport during the peak Olympic period and will be carefully scheduled to ensure that every event on our Olympic programme retains its share of the spotlight,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.

Will repechage rounds be used in all track events in 2024?

The answer to this is technically, no. Since the 100m and long distance (3000m) races have preliminary heats before round one, repechage rounds will not be included. Athletes need longer recovery time between rounds so this would be impossible.

When will Athletics debut at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games?

Athletics will be held from Thursday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 11 in Paris during the 2024 Games.

The sport will be broken up into:

  • Marathon: Saturday, Aug. 10 – Sunday, Aug. 11
  • Race walk: Thursday, Aug. 1 – Wednesday, Aug. 7
  • Track and field: Friday, Aug. 2 – Saturday, Aug. 10
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