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How tall are the hurdles at Olympic races?

Olympic athletes must clear the hurdles cleanly. So how high do they have to jump?

TOKYO, Japan — Watching world-class athletes run at unbelievable speeds is one of the more impressive things to see at the Tokyo Olympics

Watching them run at those same speeds while also clearing hurdles without breaking stride is nothing short of incredible.

It also has many people wondering how tall these obstacles are. 

There are two distances of Olympic hurdles races for both men and women: the 110m and 400m race for men and the 100m and 400m race for women. 

The hurdles are a slightly different height for each race, according to the International Association of Athletics Federation:

  • 110m men's race: 1.067m or 3.5 feet
  • 100m women's race: 0.838m or 2.75 feet
  • 400m men's race: 0.914m or 2.99 feet
  • 400m women's race: 0.762m or 2.5 feet

Each of the hurdles is between 46.5 and 47.25 inches wide

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During the hurdle events, runners have to stay in their lanes (which are 4 feet wide) and will be disqualified if they step outside. An athlete whose foot or leg is below the "horizontal plane of the top of any hurdle at the instant of clearance" is also disqualified from the race, according to NBCOlympics.

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Following a year-long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics took place Friday, July 23. The competition began Wed., July 21 and concludes Sunday, Aug. 8.  

The 2020 Olympic Games also welcomes some new events. Baseball and softball return for the first time since 2008, while four new sports make their debut, including surfing, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing.