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As early as 1870, track races in England were regularly attracting large crowds. The riders competed on wooden indoor tracks that closely resembled the modern velodromes of today. Such tracks ensured the event could be competed all year round. But for promoters there was an even greater benefit – spectators could be charged an entrance fee!
Track cycling events have been organised at all the editions of the Games since 1896, with the exception of the 1912 Games in Stockholm, when only the road race was staged.
Between 1924 and 1992, the range of events was generally as follows: sprint, time trial over one kilometre, tandem and team pursuit. The individual pursuit was added to the programme of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the tandem was dropped after the 1972 Games in Munich.
Women have competed in the track events since the Seoul Games in 1988, the year that marked the appearance of women in the sprint event, followed by the individual pursuit in 1992. At the Sydney Games in 2000, several track events were introduced: 500m time trial for women, but also keirin, American and sprint for men.