The paper scrutinizes the annual dynamics of competitive activity performance of prize winners in track and field of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. The studies performed allow to identify two basic strategies of participation of elite athletes in the competitions. The first implies a strong focus on achieving the best results in major competitions of the year. It is used by most of the strongest athletes in the world. The second focuses the athlete on the effective combination of competitive activity in major competitions of the year (the Olympics and World Championships) and in the Diamond League. As shown by the experience of the best sports practice, only a limited number of athletes manage to implement the latter strategy. The methodological approaches to planning competitive activity during the year are identified. The first involves the rational allocation of the optimal number of competitions throughout the year, the second focuses on preparatory competitive activities of a fairly high intensity, and the third involves the use of a small number of competitions in the system of annual training.