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Introduction to the Decathlon

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The decathlon includes 10 different events during two days of competition. The first day’s events, in order, are: 100-meter run, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter run. The second’s days events are: 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500-meter run. There is generally at least a 30 minute break between each day’s events.

Decathlon is generally a men’s event, although there are some women’s decathlon competitions. At the Olympic level, women compete in the seven-sport heptathlon. Under IAAF rules, the women’s decathlon includes the following events: 100-meter run, discus, pole vault, javelin and 400-meter run on day one; 100-meter hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump and 1500 on day two.

Technique:

Every track and field discipline is included in the decathlon, except for long distance running. Decathletes must nevertheless possess the stamina of a long-distance runner in order to compete successfully in the 10 events over two days.

What to look for:

Competitors receive points in each event, based on a pre-set scoring table. It’s not necessary to win any individual events in order to win the decathlon. Rather, it’s more important for a decathlete to be consistently successful in each event. The Olympic gold medalist earns the title, “World’s Greatest Athlete.”

Men’s world record:

American Ashton Eaton ran on his favorite track, Oregon's Hayward Field, but he had to overcame rainy weather during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Nevertheless, Eaton posted four personal bests on his way to victory with 9,039 points, breaking Roman Sebrle's 2001 record by 13 points.

Eaton needed to run better than 4:16.23 in the closing event, the 1500 meters, about two seconds less than his previous personal best. He closed the race strong and finished in 4:14.48.

On day one, Eaton ran the 100 in 10.21 seconds, then leaped 8.23 meters (27 feet) in the long jump, both of which were not only personal bests but all-time decathlon records. Eaton then threw 14.20/46-7¼ in the shot put and high-jumped 2.05/6-8¾. He closed the day by running 46.70 in a driving rainstorm in the 400. On the second day Eaton ran the 110 hurdles in 13.70 seconds, threw the discus 42.81/140-5, cleared a personal best 5.30/17-4½ in the pole vault and threw the javelin 58.87/193-1 before wrapping up his record performance in the 1500.

Women's world record:

The IAAF first recognized a women’s world decathlon record on Jan. 1, 2005. The inaugural record-holder was Marie Collonville, who scored 8160 points in Talence, France in September of 2004. But it didn’t take long for Lithuania’s Austra Skujyte to establish a new mark as she scored 8366 points at the University of Missouri's Audrey Walton Combined Events meet on April 14-15, 2005.

On the first day of competition, Skujyte ran the 100 meters in 12.45, threw the discus 46.19 meters, scored 3.1 meters in the pole vault, 48.78 meters in the javelin throw and ran a personal best 57.19 in the 400. On day two she ran the 100-meter hurdles in 14.22, scored 6.12 meters in the long jump, 16.42 meters in the shot put and 1.78 meters in the high jump. Needing to run 5:53.82 in the 1500 to set the record, Skujyte cruised in with a time of 5:15.86.

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