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Decathlon for Men at Olympics

Decathlon for Men at Olympics: Decathlon is a combined event consisting of ten events-four track and six field events. The events included in the decathlon program are-

  • 100 meter sprint
  • 110 meter hurdles
  • 400 meter event
  • 1500 meter event
  • Long jump
  • High jump
  • Shot put
  • Discus throw
  • Javelin throw
  • Pole vault
  • The decathlon competition is held in two days. The events contested in the first day are 100 meter sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump and the 400 meter event. The 110 meter hurdle, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and the 1500 meter event are held on the second day.

    The event decathlon was originated from "pentathlon", which was held in the ancient Summer Games. The word "decathlon" is from Greek origin. The word can be broken into two parts, "deka" meaning "ten" and "athlon" meaning "contest". The decathlon was contested for the first time in 1911 at Sweden.

    In the decathlon competition, the athletes are tested on the ground of their speed, stamina, potency, expertise and individuality. The first day events of the decathlon competition demand excellent speed, power and jumping ability. Technique and stamina are the key to the success in the events contested in the second day. The athletes do not need to finish in top three positions in the events to win the competition. A point table is maintained to score the athletes' performances in the ten events. The total point scored by the individuals is used to determine the winner of the competition.

    Decathlon for Men in Summer Olympics: Decathlon competition is exclusively men's event in the Summer Games. The event was introduced to the Olympic schedule in the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games. A scoring table was maintained for keeping the scores of the events. Since then, the decathlon competition has been held in every Olympics.

    Rules for Decathlon for Men: The International Association of Athletics Federations or IAAF sets rules for the track and field events. The rules set for the decathlon competition at the international level are-

  • There should an interval between two events. Generally, an interval of 30 minutes is given at the international level. However, the time can be changed.
  • The athletes have to compete in all the ten events to ensure their participation in the decathlon competition. The athlete not participating in any event included in the decathlon, is considered to be out of the competition.
  • In the shot put, discus throw, javelin throw and the high jump events, an athlete is allowed three attempts per event.
  • The Committee is authorized to determine the starting heights in the high jump and the pole vault events.
  • The 110 meter hurdle event is generally held in adjacent lanes.
  • An athlete is not permitted to foul his competitors. If the offence is committed by some athlete, his points are deducted for that event. In the case of a serious foul, the athlete is disqualified and not allowed to compete in the next events.
  • The timing device used to keep times in the events should be completely automatic. If time is kept manually, then the mean of three time readings or the lower of the two times is considered to be final.
  • Metric measurements are used in the shot put, discus and javelin throw events. Generally a steel tape is used to take the measurements.
  • After each event, the individual and total scores of the athletes are announced.
  • The athlete accumulating the highest point after the completion of all the events is declared the winner. In case of a tie, the athlete with higher points in more events than his opponent is chosen the winner.
  • Medal Winners in the Decathlon for Men: The athletes of the United States of America have been dominating the domain of the decathlon. Roman Sebrle, Erki Nool, Dan O'Brien, Robert Zmelik, Christian Schenk, Daley Thompson, Bruce Jenner, Nikolai Viktorovich Avilov, Bill Toomey, Willi Holdorf, Rafer Johnson, Milt Campbell, Bob Mathias, Bryan Clay, Glenn Morris, James Bausch, Siegfried Wentz, Paavo Yrjola, Tomas Dvorak, Harold Osborn, Helge Lovland, Jim Thorpe and Hugo Wieslander are some famous athletes who have won medals in the decathlon competitions at the international level.

    Trivia: In the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games, Jim Thorpe won gold medal in the decathlon event. However, on the revelation of his professional status, he was striped of his gold medal along with his other Olympic titles in the game.

    Bob Mathias of the United States of America became the youngest athlete to win the Olympic decathlon title in the 1948 London Summer Games.

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