Saturday, August 23, 2008


Radhe Krishna 23-08-08

The decathlon is an athletic event consisting of ten track and field events. Events are held over two consecutive days and the winners are determined by the combined performance in all. Performance is judged on a points system in each event, not by the position achieved.[1] The decathlon is contested by male athletes, while female athletes contest the heptathlon.

Traditionally, the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" has been given to the man who wins the decathlon. This began when King Gustav V of Sweden told Jim Thorpe, "You, sir, are the World's Greatest Athlete" after Thorpe won the decathlon at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912.[2] The current holder of the title is American Bryan Clay, the gold medal winner of the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The word decathlon is of Greek origin (from δέκα deka [ten] and αθλος athlos [contest]).

Contents [hide]
1 Events
2 Origins
3 Modern standardization
3.1 Points system
4 One hour decathlon
5 World records
6 National records
7 Season's best
8 See also
8.1 Other multiple event contests
9 References
10 External links

The modern event is a set combination of athletic disciplines, testing an individual’s speed, strength, skill, stamina, endurance, and perseverance; it includes five events on each of two successive days. The emphasis of the first day is on speed, explosive power, and jumping ability; the second emphasizes technique and endurance.

Day 1
100 meters
long jump
shot put
high jump
400 meters
Day 2
110 meter hurdles
pole vault
1500 meters

[edit] Origins
The event developed from the ancient pentathlon. Pentathlon competitions were held at the ancient Greek Olympics. Pentathlons involved five disciplines – long jump, discus throw, javelin, sprint and a wrestling match. Introduced in Olympia during 708 BC, the game was extremely popular for many centuries. By the sixth century BC, pentathlons had became part of religious games.

Gorgos, from Elis, a town near Olympia, was a four-time pentathlon winner during the period. Another key player was Lampis, a young Spartan who was the first Olympic winner. Automedes was also a known player of the time. The last recorded game winner was Publius Asklepiades of Corinth in AD 241. Roman Emperor Theodosius I officially put an end to the game in AD 393 by closing down all the sanctuaries including Olympia.

From the mid 1700s various versions of the competition emerged. The 1948 Olympics endorsed a new implication to the game. Seventeen-year-old Bob Mathias emerged as the then decathlon winner, banishing the myth that decathlon was a game for the old and the experienced. Mathias still remains the youngest decathlon sports champion in Olympic history.

[edit] Modern standardization
In 1964 the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF; now the International Association of Athletics Federations) laid out new scoring tables and brought about some standardization in the sport. The 1970s saw the game spreading to the Eastern European nations, mainly the Soviet Union, Poland and East Germany.

The first decathlon competition was held on a single day, October 15, 1911, in Gothenburg, Sweden. This was technically not the first decathlon, but one of the first two, as Germany also held a decathlon on the very same day. The Germans contested their events in the same order but with a different scoring table. So, the first decathlon world-record holder was the winner of the first completed meet. Karl Hugo Wieslander, a Swede, and Karl Ritter von Halt, a German, were announced world-record holders.

The decathlon was added to the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm[3]. After experience, the following order was chosen: 100 m run, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400 m run on the first day; 110 m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500 m run on the 2nd day. The Swedes also developed a set of scoring tables, based on the 1908 Olympic records. After the 1912 Stockholm Games, the tables were updated to include many new Olympic records.

The 1912 Olympic decathlon has become legend because of the presence of Jim Thorpe. Thorpe had a terrific 1912 spring track season, winning as many as six events per meet. Thorpe made the U.S. Olympic team in four events: decathlon, pentathlon, high jump, and long jump. The Russian czar donated a Viking ship as a prize for the decathlon champion. Thorpe won the decathlon by almost 700 points over his closest opponent, Hugo Wieslander of Sweden. Because of the unexpected large number of entries, the decathlon was held over 3 days. The first day they held the 100 m run, long jump, and shot put. The second day consisted of the high jump, 400 m run, discus, and 110 m hurdles. The third and final day consisted of the pole vault, javelin, and 1500 m run. Thorpe’s 8412 points converts to 6564 points on the current tables, still a very respectable score three quarters of a century later. Swedes Wieslander, Charles Lomberg, and Gösta Holmér captured the next three spots.

Thorpe’s score was not beaten for another 15 years. In his absence, there was little decathlon activity for the remainder of the decade. Only in Sweden was the decathlon often contested. The Swedes managed to stay neutral during World War I, which forced the cancellation of the games of Berlin in 1916. Fascinatingly, decathlons were held as part of the Far Eastern Games in 1913, 1915, 1917, and 1919.

The average good decathlete competes at most three or four times a year, the less talented even fewer. Bill Toomey’s nine great efforts back in 1969 were very unusual. The decathlon is the Olympic event least commonly seen in non-Olympic meets.

The decathlete does not have to be amazing in all events to be a champion in the sport itself. But he must range from adequate in his weak events to good or better in the other skills. Because he must do well in the four runs and six field events, he has little opportunity to perfect any one event. A decathlete trying to improve performance in one specific event is likely to deteriorate in another, because the physical demands of the various events are conflicting. His training is necessarily different as he strives to improve all techniques, gain strength without losing speed, and acquire the stamina to perform through a competition that lasts anywhere from 4 to 12 hours per day during the Olympics. As a reference point, a performance in the (non-decathlon) world record class would give somewhere between 1100 and 1400 points per event, totaling over 12500 points for a full record-breaking decathlon. When compared to the 6-7000 points that a good decathlete would usually get, or the world record of slightly over 9000 points, this illustrates how much specialization must be sacrificed to become a good all-round athlete.

The decathlon is one of the few events with an arbitrary scoring system and thus the only one in which personal performance and records can be broken as new scoring tables are adopted. Under the original scoring tables adopted in 1912, Akilles Järvinen of Finland finished second in both the 1928 and 1932 Olympics, but the new scoring system introduced in 1934 gave Jarvinen higher converted totals than both the men he lost to. World-record holder C.K. Yang lost 1032 points when his 1963 performance was converted late in 1964 to the new tables first used in the 1964 Olympics. His top rivals lost only 287 and 172 points when their bests were converted, and Yang dropped from the favorite to third on the pre-Games ranking, finishing a disappointing fifth.

The arbitrary nature of the scoring tables can work in the opposite direction as well. In 1984, at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Great Britain’s Daley Thompson missed the world record by one point on then-used 1962/77 tables. The tables were changed a year later and Thompson’s score in Los Angeles converted to a best-ever mark.

[edit] Points system
Points are given to the following formulae:

Points = INT(A*(B-P)C) for track events
Points = INT(A*(P-B)C) for field events
A, B and C are parameters that vary by discipline, as shown in the table below, while P is the performance by the athlete in units given in the final column of the table.

Event A B C Units
100 m 25.4347 18 1.81 seconds
Long Jump 0.14354 220 1.4 centimeters
Shot Put 51.39 1.5 1.05 meters
High Jump 0.8465 75 1.42 centimeters
400 m 1.53775 82 1.81 seconds
110 m Hurdles 5.74352 28.5 1.92 seconds
Discus Throw 12.91 4 1.1 meters
Pole Vault 0.2797 100 1.35 centimeters
Javelin Throw 10.14 7 1.08 meters
1500 m 0.03768 480 1.85 seconds

One hour decathlon
One hour decathlon is a special type of decathlon, in which the athletes have to start the last of ten events (1500 metres) within sixty minutes after the start of the first event. The world record holder is a Czech decathlete Robert Změlík, who achieved 7897 points at a meeting in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia in 1992.[4]

[edit] World records
Points Athlete Nation Date Place
Since 1920
7485 Aleksander Klumberg-Kolmpere EST 1920-07-05 Tallinn
7710 Harold Osborn USA 1924-07-12 Paris
7820 Paavo Yrjölä FIN 1926-07-18 Viipuri
7995 Paavo Yrjölä FIN 1927-07-17 Helsinki
8053 Paavo Yrjölä FIN 1928-08-04 Amsterdam
8255 Akilles Järvinen FIN 1930-07-20 Viipuri
8462 James Bausch US 1932-08-06 Los Angeles
8790 Hans-Heinrich Sievert GER 1934-07-08 Hamburg
Since 1936
7900 Glenn Morris USA 1936-08-08 Berlin
8042 Bob Mathias USA 1950-06-30 Tulare
Since 1952
7887 Bob Mathias USA 1952-07-26 Helsinki
7985 Rafer Johnson USA 1955-06-11 Kingsburg
8014 Vassily Kuznetsov URS 1958-05-18 Krasnodar
8302 Rafer Johnson USA 1958-07-28 Moscow
8357 Vassily Kuznetsov URS 1959-05-17 Moscow
8683 Rafer Johnson USA 1960-07-09 Eugene
Since 1962
8206 Yang Chuan-Kwang TPE 1963-04-28 Walnut
8230 Russ Hodge USA 1966-07-24 Los Angeles
8319 Kurt Bendlin FRG 1967-05-14 Heidelberg
8417 Bill Toomey USA 1969-12-11 Los Angeles
8454 Nikolay Avilov URS 1972-09-08 Munich
8524 Bruce Jenner USA 1975-08-10 Eugene
8538 Bruce Jenner USA 1976-06-26 Eugene
8618 Bruce Jenner USA 1976-07-30 Montreal
8622 Daley Thompson GBR 1980-05-15 Götzis
8649 Guido Kratschmer FRG 1980-06-14 Filderstadt-Bernhausen
8704 Daley Thompson GBR 1982-05-23 Götzis
8723 Jürgen Hingsen FRG 1982-08-15 Ulm
8743 Daley Thompson GBR 1982-09-08 Athens
8779 Jürgen Hingsen FRG 1983-06-06 Filderstadt-Bernhausen
8798 Jürgen Hingsen FRG 1984-05-15 Mannheim
8847 Daley Thompson GBR 1984-08-09 Los Angeles
Since 1985
8891 Dan O'Brien USA 1992-09-05 Talence
8994 Tomáš Dvořák CZE 1999-07-04 Prague
9026 Roman Šebrle CZE 2001-05-27 Götzis
Women's world record
8366 Austra Skujytė LTU 2005-04-15 Columbia, Missouri

NOTE: Skujyte's marks total 6333 using the men's scoring tables

[edit] National records
As of 2007-09-06
9026 CZE Roman Šebrle 2001-05-27 Götzis
8891 USA Dan O'Brien 1992-09-05 Talence
8847 GBR Daley Thompson 1984-08-09 Los Angeles
8832 GER Jürgen Hingsen 1984-06-09 Mannheim
8815 EST Erki Nool 2001-08-07 Edmonton
8735 BLR Eduard Hämäläinen 1994-05-29 Götzis
8730 FIN Eduard Hämäläinen 1997-08-06 Athens
8725 KAZ Dmitriy Karpov 2004-08-24 Athens
8709 UKR Aleksander Apaichev 1984-06-03 Neubrandenburg
8698 RUS Grigori Degtyaryov 1984-06-22 Kiev
8644 JAM Maurice Smith 2007-09-01 Osaka
8626 CAN Mike Smith 1996-05-26 Götzis
8574 FRA Christian Plaziat 1990-08-29 Split
8573 ISL Jón Arnar Magnússon 1998-05-31 Götzis
8566 POL Sebastian Chmara 1998-05-17 Murcia
8554 HUN Attila Zsivóczky 2000-06-04 Götzis
8526 ESP Francisco Javier Benet 1998-05-17 Murcia
8490 AUS Jagan Hames 1998-09-18 Kuala Lumpur
8447 NED Robert de Wit 1988-05-22 Eindhoven
8445 UZB Ramil Ganiyev 1997-08-06 Athens
8437 LTU Ryszard Malachowskis 1988-07-02 Staiki
8403 SWE Henrik Dagård 1994-09-11 Talence
8359 NZL Simon Poelman 1987-03-22 Christchurch
8334 SUI Stephan Niklaus 1983-07-03 Lausanne
8320 AUT Gernot Kellermayr 1993-05-30 Götzis
8291 ARG Tito Steiner 1983-06-23 Provo
8290 CHN Qi Haifeng 2005-05-29 Götzis
8288 MDA Valeri Kachanov 1980-06-21 Moscow
8271 LAT Janis Karlivans 2007-05-27 Götzis
8266 BRA Pedro da Silva Filho 1987-04-23 Walnut, California
8257 CUB Yordanis García 2007-09-01 Osaka
8213 POR Mario Anibal Ramos 2001-07-01 Kaunas
8199 BUL Atanas Andonov 1981-06-21 Sofia
8169 ITA Beniamino Poserina 1996-10-06 Formia
8160 NOR Benjamin Jensen 1999-08-01 Greve
8069 GRE Prodromos Korkizoglou 2000-07-02 Ibach
8057 YUG Saša Karan 1990-07-01 Ljubljana
8047 BEL Hans van Alphen 2007-08-13 Bangkok
8023 TUN Hamdi Dhouibi 2005-08-10 Helsinki
8009 TPE Yang Chuan-Kwang 1963-04-28 Walnut, California
7995 JPN Munehiro Kaneko 1993-05-14 Shanghai
7994 DEN Lars Warming 1988-06-19 Götzis
7934 ALG Ahmed Mahour Bacha 1985-07-09 Algiers
7882 IRL Carlos O'Connell 1988-06-05 Emmitsburg, Maryland
7846 TJK Igor Sobolevski 1982-07-16 Leningrad
7834 ROM Vasile Bogdan 1975-06-08 Paris
7824 KOR Kim Kun-Woo 2006-05-26 Gongju
7802 CYP Yeorgios Andreou 2000-08-12 Volos
7799 SVK Peter Soldos 2001-06-10 Arles
7777 BAR Victor Houston 1997-08-06 Athens
7757 TUR Alper Kasapoğlu 1996-04-19 Azusa, California
7756 GEO Juri Dyachkov 1968-06-16 Tbilisi
7734 VEN Douglas Fernández 1983-08-27 Caracas
7730 QAT Ahmad Hassan Moussa 2004-06-27 Ratingen
7704 PUR Luiggy Llanos 2003-08-06 Santo Domingo
7698 SLO Damjan Sitar 2006-05-28 Maribor
7674 RSA Joepie Loots 1983-04-16 Bloemfontein
7667 IRI Hadi Sepehrzad 2007-07-28 Amman
7659 CRO Joško Vlašić 1983-06-25 Izmir
7632 LCA Dominic Johnson 1998-03-27 Tucson
7614 MEX Alejandro Cárdenas 1996-05-11 Medellín

[edit] Season's best
As of 2007-09-06
2007 8676 Roman Šebrle (CZE) Talence
2006 8677 Bryan Clay (USA) Götzis
2005 8732 Bryan Clay (USA) Helsinki
2004 8893 Roman Šebrle (CZE) Athens
2003 8807 Roman Šebrle (CZE) Götzis
2002 8800 Roman Šebrle (CZE) Götzis
2001 9026 Roman Šebrle (CZE) Götzis
2000 8900 Tomáš Dvořák (CZE) Götzis
1999 8994 Tomáš Dvořák (CZE) Prague
1998 8755 Dan O'Brien (USA) Uniondale
1997 8837 Tomáš Dvořák (CZE) Athens
1996 8824 Dan O'Brien (USA) Atlanta
1995 8695 Dan O'Brien (USA) Göteborg
1994 8735 Eduard Hämäläinen (BLR) Götzis
1993 8817 Dan O'Brien (USA) Stuttgart
1992 8891 Dan O'Brien (USA) Talence
1991 8812 Dan O'Brien (USA) Tokyo
1990 8574 Christian Plaziat (FRA) Split
1989 8549 Dave Johnson (USA) Houston
1988 8512 Christian Plaziat (FRA) Talence
1987 8680 Torsten Voss (GDR) Rome
1986 8811 Daley Thompson (GBR) Stuttgart
1985 8559 Torsten Voss (GDR) Dresden
1984 8847 Daley Thompson (GBR) Los Angeles
1983 8825 Jürgen Hingsen (FRG) Bernhausen
1982 8774 Daley Thompson (GBR) Athens
1981 8334 Rainer Pottel (GDR) Birmingham
1980 8667 Guido Kratschmer (FRG) Bernhausen
1979 8476 Guido Kratschmer (FRG) Krefeld
1978 8493 Guido Kratschmer (FRG) Bernhausen
1977 8400 Aleksandr Grebenyuk (URS) Riga
1976 8634 Bruce Jenner (USA) Montreal
1975 8429 Bruce Jenner (USA) Eugene
1974 8229 Ryszard Skowronek (POL) Montreal
1973 8163 Lennart Hedmark (SWE) Bonn
1972 8466 Nikolay Avilov (URS) Munich

[edit] See also
List of Olympic decathlon medalists

[edit] Other multiple event contests
Modern pentathlon
Octathlon (primarily a youth or junior event although logistical problems have seen senior octathlons contested, for example at the 2007 South Pacific Games)

[edit] References
^ "Decathlon". Encarta. (2008). Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
^ World's Greatest Athlete
^ "Decathlon". Encyclopædia Britannica. (2008). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
^ "Decathlon Records". DECA - The Decathlon Association. Retrieved on 2007-10-21.

[edit] External links
Decathlon points calculator
Decathlon points formula
Hexham International Decathlon Meeting (since 1997)
Team Decathlon website
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Relays 4 × 100 m · 4 × 400 m

Throws Discus · Hammer · Javelin · Shot put

Jumps High jump · Long jump · Pole vault · Triple jump

Combination Pentathlon · Heptathlon · Decathlon

Uncommon field events weight throw · Standing high jump · Standing long jump · Standing triple jump

Cross country running · Multiday race · Racewalking · Ultramarathon · Wheelchair racing

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