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A Comprehensive Look at Olympic Heptathlon

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A Comprehensive Look at Olympic Heptathlon

Jackie Joyner-Kersee high jumps at the 1996 U.S. Olympic heptathlon trials

Mike Powell/Getty Images
The image of Olympic women athletes has evolved from delicate creatures needing protection to competitors who are just as willing to push themselves to the limit as men. Likewise, women's Olympic sports have evolved since females began Olympic competition in 1928. The five-event pentathlon was added in 1964, then was replaced by the seven-event heptathlon in 1984. Will a women's Olympic decathlon follow some day?

About Olympic Heptathlon:

Like the decathlon, heptathletes receive points relative to their time or measurement, rather than their placing, in each of the seven events. Learn more about the details of heptathlon competition below.

Olympic Heptathlon History:

Just as the Olympic decathlon winner is considered the world's greatest male athlete, the heptathlon champion becomes the world's greatest female athlete. Read about some of those performers from the brief but lively history of women's Olympic heptathlon.

Action Image Gallery:

Photos of all seven Olympic heptathlon events highlight this action photo gallery.

The Athletes:

Take a look at the top 2012 Olympic heptathlon hopefuls, from the U.S. and around the world, then catch up with some familiar names from the past with these selections.

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