/di kath"lon/, n.
an athletic contest comprising ten different track-and-field events and won by the contestant amassing the highest total score.
[1910-15; DEC- + Gk âthlon prize, contest]

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Composite athletic contest that consists of 10 different track-and-field competitions: the 100-, 400-, and 1,500-m runs, the 110-m high hurdles, the javelin and discus throws, shot put, pole vault, high jump, and long jump.

Introduced as a three-day event at the 1912 Olympic Games, it later became a two-day event. Competitors are scored according to a table established by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Decathletes are often regarded as the finest all-around athletes in the world.

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 athletic competition lasting two consecutive days in which contestants take part in 10 track-and-field events. It was introduced as a three-day event at the Olympic Games in 1912. Decathlon events are: (first day) 100-metre dash, running long (broad) jump, shot put, high jump, and 400-metre run; (second day) 110-metre hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500-metre run. Competitors are scored for their performance in each event according to a table established by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

      The table has been changed periodically to keep pace with improvements in world records. The first one was used from 1912 to 1936, while the decathlon was still a three-day event; a second from 1936 to 1950 (with minor revisions in 1952); and a third from 1952 to 1964. All emphasized excellent performances in the individual events. A fourth table in use from 1964 to 1985 and a fifth introduced in 1985 favoured the athlete who could score evenly in all 10 events.

      The American athlete Jim Thorpe (Thorpe, Jim) was the first Olympic decathlon champion. Akilles Järvinen of Finland, James Bausch of the United States, and Hans Sievert of Germany were leading competitors under the first table, with Sievert setting the final record of 8,790.46 points in 1934.

  Glenn Morris of the United States, with a world record of 7,900 points in 1936, and Bob Mathias (Mathias, Bob) of the United States, with two Olympic titles and a record of 8,042 points in 1950, excelled under the second table. Mathias also set the first record of 7,887 under the third table in 1952, but this was later broken several times, by Rafer Johnson (Johnson, Rafer) of the United States, Vasily Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union, and Yang Chuan-kwang of Taiwan, who set the final record of 9,121 points in 1963.

      Outstanding performers under the fourth table included Bruce Jenner (Jenner, Bruce) of the United States and Daley Thompson (Thompson, Daley) of Great Britain. Dan O'Brien of the United States and Tomàs Dvoràk of the Czech Republic were among the athletes who excelled under the fifth table.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • decathlon — de*cath lon, n. [See {Deca }; {Pentathlon}.] In the modern Olympic Games, a composite contest consisting of a 100 meter run, a broad jump, putting the shot, a running high jump, a 400 meter run, throwing the discus, a 100 meter hurdle race, pole… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decathlon — 1912, from deca ten (see TEN (Cf. ten)) + Gk. athlon contest, prize. A modern Olympic event consisting of 10 challenges …   Etymology dictionary

  • decathlon — ► NOUN ▪ an athletic event in which each competitor takes part in the same ten events. DERIVATIVES decathlete noun. ORIGIN from Greek deka ten + athlon contest …   English terms dictionary

  • decathlon — [di kath′län΄, di kath′lən] n. [ DEC(A) + Gr athlon, a prize] an athletic contest in which each contestant takes part in ten events (100 meter dash, 400 meter dash, long jump, 16 pound shot put, high jump, 110 meter hurdles, discus throw, pole… …   English World dictionary

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