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Rules to play Olympic Decathlon
1. Theres no faking it
The decathlon is a 10 event spectacle featuring the pole vault, high jump, long jump, javelin, shot put, discus, 110 meter hurdles, 100 meter dash, 400 meter run, and wait for it a 1500 meter run.
2. Wrestling was once part of the show
The decathlon wasnt always 10 events long. The sport started in ancient Greece as an all around test of an athletes ability, also known as the pentathlon. The battles: long jump, discus, javelin, sprint, and a wrestling match (pre pre pre WWF style).
3. Talk about back to back to back
Athletes get a minimum of 30 minutes rest in between events. Factor in stretching, refueling, and finding the bathroom, and it can feel as quick as a Formula 1 pit stop.
4. Girls sit this one out
The decathlon is still just for the boys. Women compete in their own grueling multi event competition known as the heptathlon, which includes the same events as the mens, minus the 1500 meter run, discus throw, and pole vault.
5. The score matters most
Decathletes are actually competing against a scoring table not each other directly. At the end of all events, the athlete with the highest score wins. So a good decathlete must score well in each event rather than just dominating a few (easier said than done, of course).
6. Ten thousand is the goal
A perfect score in the decathlon is 1,000 points in each event for a cumulative score of 10,000 points. But dont be looking for the perfect score card in London its never been done.
7. Theres an American on top
Ashton Eaton recently broke the world record with a whopping 9,039 point total in the Olympic Trials (perfect timing). Safe to say hes the favorite headed into these Games (and representing the USA!).
8. Decathletes aim for greatness
In 1912, the USAs Jim Thorpe became the first winner of the decathlon and was allegedly declared the greatest athlete in the world by King Gustav V of Sweden. Later, it surfaced that he broke amateur rules by playing professional baseball (is there anything this guy couldnt do?). His Olympic titles were later reinstated after his death.
9. Beginners luck happens
Bob Matthias, the youngest Olympic champion in the decathlon, was just 17 years old when he competed for the U.S. in the 1948 Games. Talk about beginners luck it was only his third attempt at the 10 event competition.
10. Youve only got one shot well three
For the javelin, discus, long jump, and shot put, athletes only get three attempts each, with the best of those recorded as their final score.
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