Running Questions - Answers
What is a decathlon?
Avatar Anita Clara
19 February 2018

Can you help me understand what a decathlon actually is? I’ve heard a lot about it from my friends, but I, myself really don’t know what it is. It would be a big help if you can give me an insight about it. Thanks in advance.

Answer :
Elizabeth Carlson
31 January 2018

Sure! The decathlon event is an event in most collegiate track and field meets, as well as an Olympic sporting event. Some bigger high schools with well formed track and field teams also train athletes to participate in the decathlon event. The reason that you probably have not heard as much about it is because this is an event that only a few athletes can physically do, so it is not as commonly participated in. Not only is it a test of many different skills and aptitudes, (requiring the athlete to be in excellent cardiovascular shape both from an endurance and a speed perspective, as well as muscularly strong) but it requires a lot of mental toughness because it lasts so long. Most track and field athletes have one or two main events they focus on, which they can put all their mental focus into. The decathlon, however, is comprised of TEN events! A decathlete is competing in events the entire day (if not spanning multiple days, depending on how big the meet is). Both the physical and mental strength it takes to be a successful decathlete make it so that it is less common.

The decathlon actually dates back to the 1912 Stockholm Olympics where it first premiered - making it older than both the triathlon and heptathlon events. However, as of right now, the decathlon event is a male-only event in the Olympics. There is no female decathlon (though both genders participate in the decathlon event in high school and collegiate level track meets). Decathlons are comprised of four track events and six field events. The four track events include the 400 meter run, the 100 meter sprint, the 110 meter hurdles, and the 1500 meter event to really test distance and endurance. As for the track events, these include the pole vault, javelin throw, long jump, high jump, shot put, and discus throw. Clearly, the decathlon is a full-body sport, requiring strong, toned, and primed muscles and endurance from head to toe! And with very, very minimal rest in between events, to boot. Scoring for the decathlon event is out of a total of 10,000 points - or a combined score out of 1,000 points for each event.


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