The initiative to have World Athletics Championships arose long before the first event of this competition in 1983. In 1913, the International Association of Athletics Federations arrived at decision that the Olympic Games could have served as the World Athletics Championships. This was quite suitable for more than 50 years until the 1960s when many IAAF members claimed the desire of having their own World Championships in athletics. Thus, World Athletics Championships was officially approved to be a separate event in 1976 at the Council Meeting of IAAF members in Puerto Rico.
Considering bids from both Helsinki, Finland and Stuttgart, Germany, the International Association of Athletics Federations' Council awarded the inaugural event to Helsinki, to occur in 1983 and be held at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium (where Summer Olympic Games were held in 1952).
The competition has developed in size over the years. In the inaugural event of 1983 an estimated number of 1,300 athletes representing 154 nations participated in the competitions. By the 2003 event held in Paris, it had grown to 1,907 athletes from over 200 countries with coverage being broadcasted to 179 different countries.
Besides, there has been an alteration of the schedule over the years, with some new events, mainly for women, being added to competition's schedule. By the 2005 the championship's schedule for women and men was virtually equal. The only differences in schedules for men and women are that the men have the additional 50 km Walk event, whilst women compete in the Heptathlon and 100 m Hurdles compared to the men in the Decathlon and 110m Hurdles respectively.
The following section illustrates when new athletic events were added on the schedule for the first time.
1987 -- women's 10 km walk and 10,000 m were added.
1993 -- women's triple jump was introduced.
1995 -- women's 5000 m event was put on the schedule, replacing the women's 3000 m race event.
1999 -- women's hammer and pole vault were added in addition to the women's 10 km walk was replaced by 20 km walk.
2005 -- women's 3000 m Steeplechase event was added.
Summary of World Athletics Championships:
1983 - Helsinki, Finland; August 7-14; at Olympiastadion.
1987 - Rome, Italy; August 28 - September 6; at Stadio Olimpico.
1991 - Tokyo, Japan; August 23 - September 1; at National Olympic Stadium.
1993 - Stuttgart, Germany; August 13-22; at Gottlieb Daimler Stadium.
1995 - Gothenburg, Sweden; August 5-13; at Ullevi.
1997 - Athens, Greece; August 1-10; at Olympiako Stadio.
1999 - Seville, Spain; August 20-29; at Estadio Olímpico de la Cartuja.
2001 - Edmonton, Canada; August 3-12; at Commonwealth Stadium.
2003 - Paris, France; August 23-31; at Stade de France.
2005 - Helsinki, Finland; August 6-14; at Olympiastadion.