The word "Athletics" has different connotations in America and the rest of the world.

In the U.S.A., "athletics" implies all competitive sports, i.e. a collegiate Athletics Department. In the rest of the (English-speaking) world, it covers the specific set of sports known in America as "Track and Field", hence the international governing body name IAAF or International Association of Athletics Federations.

(In some languages, there's a distinction between "light athletics," i.e. track and field, and "heavy athletics," i.e. weightlifting.)

At any rate: which definition should we use for the tag? At the time of asking, we had one question for each definition in the tag.

This seems to overlap with How should the tag "Football" be used, but I don't think these tags should be synonyms.

  • I removed it from both of the questions it was on. It really wasn't adding anything. Hadn't seen this discussion. Every question on this site could be tagged athletics depending on the definition
    – wax eagle
    Feb 17 '12 at 18:41

There two possible scenarios I see.

  1. We use it as a synonym of and retag the existing to instead be
  2. We use it to as an antonym of (under the guise that sports have two primary elements: athletics and strategy.)

I think the first scenario would cause the least confusion, but the second also holds some ground. I'll have to give it more thought before I could say which I thought was better than the other, but I think those are the two major options.

  • I agree that the first causes least confusion. I hadn't thought of the second, and I think you're right that it has some merit; I might use the tag athleticism in that case, though.
    – pjmorse
    Feb 21 '12 at 20:07
  • I like the first option the best, but my only concern is about questions involving actual track and field events/scoring/etc. Would those be remapped to athletics or vice versa? Feb 22 '12 at 17:44
  • Can we come up with some statistics on what countries call it 'athletics'? And what countries would be seriously confused by calling it 'track and field' instead?
    – corsiKa
    Feb 22 '12 at 18:17

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