An athletic competition consisting of ten events. The modern decathlon is a two day affair with slightly different rules than normal track and field events. For instance, runners are allowed three false starts instead of two, and the maximum tail wind allowed for records is 4 meters per second instead of 2. As of now, only men compete in the decathlon (women compete in the heptathlon). The events in the modern decathlon:

Day One

  • 100 meter run
  • long jump
  • shot-put
  • high jump
  • 400 meter run

    Day Two

  • 110 meter hurdles
  • discus
  • pole vault
  • javelin
  • 1500 meter run

    The bizarre scoring of the decathlon relies on a series of tables to convert times and distances into points. Placing in an event doesn't matter - decathletes compete against a scoring table. For example, running the 100 meter dash in ten seconds is worth 1096 points, and a high jump of 2.39 meters is worth 1182 points. By converting to points, a tally can be made for the ten events and a winner can be declared.

    Due to the extreme difficulty of winning a decathlon, the Olympic champion is generally referred to as "World's Greatest Athlete".

    Czech Roman Šebrle hold the current world record for the decathlon with 9,026 points. Daley Thompson of Great Britain and American Bob Mathias are the only two-time gold medalists in the Olympic decathlon.

         Olympic Decathlon Champions
      Year Name                           Points  
      1904 Thomas Kiely, Ireland            6036  
      1912 Jim Thorpe, United States        8412  
      1920 Helge Lövland, Norway            6803  
      1924 Harold Osborn, United States     7711  
      1928 Paavo Yrjölä, Finland            8053  
      1932 Jim Bausch, United States        8462  
      1936 Glenn Morris, United States      7900  
      1948 Bob Mathias, United States       7139  
      1952 Bob Mathias, United States       7887  
      1956 Milt Campbell, United States     7937  
      1960 Rafer Johnson, United States     8392
      1964 Willi Holdorf, Germany           7887
      1968 Bill Toomey, United States       8193
      1972 Nikolai Avilov, Soviet Union     8454
      1976 Bruce Jenner, United States      8617
      1980 Daley Thompson, Great Britain    8495
      1984 Daley Thompson, Great Britain    8798
      1988 Christian Schenk, East Germany   8488
      1992 Robert Zmelik, Czechoslovakia    8611  
      1996 Dan O'Brien, United States       8824
      2000 Erki Nool, Estonia               8641
      2004 Roman Šebrle, Czech Republic     8893 
      2008 Bryan Clay, United States        8791

    Decathlon is also an aptly titled game by Activision for the Atari 2600. Up to four players compete in the ten events of the decathlon. Running was done by whipping the joystick rapidly back and forth, and jumping was performed with the button. If you scored enough points, and sent a Polaroid of your final score to Activision, they sent you back a medal. Of course, you probably also got open cuts on your palms from joystick abrasion.

    If you've still got an Atari and copy of Decathlon, you can try out this trick... In the pole vault event, after you let go of the pole, continue tapping the button. Your little decathlete will ascend much higher than he normally would, enabling you to rack up huge points.