The decathlon is a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field events. The word decathlon is of Greek origin (from ???? deka [ten] and ????? athlos [contest]). 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. The decathlon is contested mainly by male athletes, while female athletes typically compete in 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. The current holder of the title is American Bryan Clay, the gold medal winner of the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, who took the title from Athens Olympics Czech champion Roman Šebrle.
The event developed from the ancient pentathlon. Pentathlon competitions were held at the ancient GreekOlympics. Pentathlons involved five disciplines – long jump, discus throw, javelin throw, sprint and awrestling match. Introduced in Olympia during 708 BC, the competition was extremely popular for many centuries. By the 6th century BC, pentathlons had become part of religious games. The Amateur Athletic Union held “all around events” from the 1880s and a decathlon first appeared on the Olympic athletics program at the 1904 Games.
The vast majority of international and top level men’s decathlons are divided in to a two-day competition, with the track and field events held in the order below. Traditionally, all decathletes who finished the event do a round of honour together after the competition, rather than just the winner or medalling athletes.
At major championships, the women’s equivalent of the decathlon is the seven-event heptathlon; prior to 1981 it was the five-event pentathlon. However, in 2001 the IAAF approved scoring tables for women’s decathlon; the current world record holder is Austra Skujyt? of Lithuania. Women’s disciplines differ from men’s in the same way as for standalone events: the shot, discus and javelin weigh less, and the sprint hurdles uses lower hurdles over 100 m rather than 110 m. The points tables used are the same as for the heptathlon in the shared events. The schedule of events differs from the men’s decathlon, with the field events switched between day one and day two; this is to avoid scheduling conflicts when men’s and women’s decathlon competitions take place simultaneously.
- Day 1
- Day 2
One hour decathlon is a special type of decathlon, in which the athletes have to start the last of ten events (1500 m) within sixty minutes after the start of the first event. The world record holder is a Czech decathlete Robert Zm?lík, who achieved 7897 points at a meeting in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, in 1992.
Reference: Wikipedia Decathlon