Combined events at the Olympics

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Combined events
at the Olympic Games
Decathlon reflections, Olympic Games, London, 1948. (7649948104).jpg
Men competing in the 1500 m of the 1948 Olympic decathlon
Overview
Sport Athletics
Gender Men and women
Years held Men's decathlon: 19562016
Women's heptathlon: 19842016
Women's pentathlon: 19641980
Olympic record
Men 8893 pts Roman Šebrle (2004)
Women 7291 pts Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988)
Reigning champion
Men  Ashton Eaton (USA)
Women  Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)

Combined events at the Summer Olympics have been contested in several formats at the multi-sport event. There are two combined track and field events in the current Olympic athletics programme: a men's decathlon and a women's heptathlon.

The first men's events came at the 1904 Summer Olympics: a triathlon had long jump, shot put, and 100-yard dash events, while an all-around championship saw athletes compete over ten events, forming the basis for the decathlon.[1] No combined events were held at the subsequent games, but the 1912 Summer Olympics saw the introduction of the modern decathlon event and also a men's pentathlon (which lasted for three games), the first women's event came in 1964 in the form of the women's pentathlon. This was amended to include two more events, becoming the heptathlon at the 1984 Summer Olympics, reflecting the development of women's sport.

The Olympic record in the decathlon is 8893 points, set by Czech athlete Roman Šebrle in 2004. Jackie Joyner-Kersee's score of 7291 points to win in 1988 is both the current Olympic and world record for the heptathlon – this remains the only occasion that record has been broken at the Olympics. The men's decathlon world record has had a strong link with the competition, with the Olympic gold medalist breaking the world record in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1952, 1972, 1976, and 1984.[2]

Five men have won two Olympic combined event titles. Bob Mathias, Daley Thompson and Ashton Eaton have all won back-to-back decathlon titles, Jim Thorpe won both the decathlon and pentathlon titles in 1912, and Eero Lehtonen won two Olympic pentathlon titles. Jackie Joyner-Kersee is the most successful athlete, having won two Olympic heptathlon titles and, with her further silver medal, is the only combined events competitor to have won three Olympic medals.

In 1912, Thorpe was designated the "World's Greatest Athlete" by Gustav V of Sweden and this title is traditionally given to the reigning Olympic decathlon champion in the media.[3][4] Thorpe's two gold medals were stripped in 1913 on the grounds that he had broken amateurism rules (having taken expense money for playing baseball), but the International Olympic Committee restored him as the champion in 1982 (other medalists were not demoted).[5]

The 1906 Intercalated Games, now not considered an official Olympic event, featured an event based on the Ancient Olympic pentathlon, combining four track and field events with a wrestling match.

Medal summary[edit]

Men's decathlon[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1912 Stockholm
details
Jim Thorpe
 United States
Charles Lomberg
 Sweden
Gösta Holmér
 Sweden
Hugo Wieslander
 Sweden
1920 Antwerp
details
Helge Løvland
 Norway
Brutus Hamilton
 United States
Bertil Ohlson
 Sweden
1924 Paris
details
Harold Osborn
 United States
Emerson Norton
 United States
Aleksander Klumberg
 Estonia
1928 Amsterdam
details
Paavo Yrjölä
 Finland
Akilles Järvinen
 Finland
Ken Doherty
 United States
1932 Los Angeles
details
James Bausch
 United States
Akilles Järvinen
 Finland
Wolrad Eberle
 Germany
1936 Berlin
details
Glenn Morris
 United States
Bob Clark
 United States
Jack Parker
 United States
1948 London
details
Bob Mathias
 United States
Ignace Heinrich
 France
Floyd Simmons
 United States
1952 Helsinki
details
Bob Mathias
 United States
Milt Campbell
 United States
Floyd Simmons
 United States
1956 Melbourne
details
Milt Campbell
 United States
Rafer Johnson
 United States
Vasili Kuznetsov
 Soviet Union
1960 Rome
details
Rafer Johnson
 United States
Yang Chuan-kwang
 Republic of China
Vasili Kuznetsov
 Soviet Union
1964 Tokyo
details
Willi Holdorf
 United Team of Germany
Rein Aun
 Soviet Union
Hans-Joachim Walde
 United Team of Germany
1968 Mexico City
details
Bill Toomey
 United States
Hans-Joachim Walde
 West Germany
Kurt Bendlin
 West Germany
1972 Munich
details
Mykola Avilov
 Soviet Union
Leonid Lytvynenko
 Soviet Union
Ryszard Katus
 Poland
1976 Montreal
details
Bruce Jenner
 United States
Guido Kratschmer
 West Germany
Mykola Avilov
 Soviet Union
1980 Moscow
details
Daley Thompson
 Great Britain
Yuriy Kutsenko
 Soviet Union
Sergei Zhelanov
 Soviet Union
1984 Los Angeles
details
Daley Thompson
 Great Britain
Jürgen Hingsen
 West Germany
Siegfried Wentz
 West Germany
1988 Seoul
details
Christian Schenk
 East Germany
Torsten Voss
 East Germany
Dave Steen
 Canada
1992 Barcelona
details
Robert Změlík
 Czechoslovakia
Antonio Peñalver
 Spain
Dave Johnson
 United States
1996 Atlanta
details
Dan O'Brien
 United States
Frank Busemann
 Germany
Tomáš Dvořák
 Czech Republic
2000 Sydney
details
Erki Nool
 Estonia
Roman Šebrle
 Czech Republic
Chris Huffins
 United States
2004 Athens
details
Roman Šebrle
 Czech Republic
Bryan Clay
 United States
Dmitriy Karpov
 Kazakhstan
2008 Beijing
details
Bryan Clay
 United States
Andrei Krauchanka
 Belarus
Leonel Suárez
 Cuba
2012 London
details
Ashton Eaton
 United States
Trey Hardee
 United States
Leonel Suárez
 Cuba
2016 Rio De Janeiro
details
Ashton Eaton
 United States
Kevin Mayer
 France
Damian Warner
 Canada

Multiple medalists[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
1= Bob Mathias  United States (USA) 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
1= Daley Thompson  Great Britain (GBR) 1980–1984 2 0 0 2
1= Ashton Eaton  United States (USA) 2008–2016 2 0 0 2
4= Milt Campbell  United States (USA) 1952–1956 1 1 0 2
4= Rafer Johnson  United States (USA) 1956–1960 1 1 0 2
4= Roman Šebrle  Czech Republic (CZE) 2000–2004 1 1 0 2
4= Bryan Clay  United States (USA) 2004–2008 1 1 0 2
8 Mykola Avilov  Soviet Union (URS) 1972–1976 1 0 1 2
9 Akilles Järvinen  Finland (FIN) 1928–1932 0 2 0 2
10 Hans-Joachim Walde  West Germany (FRG)
 United Team of Germany (EUA)
1964–1968 0 1 1 2
11= Floyd Simmons  United States (USA) 1948–1952 0 0 2 2
11= Vasili Kuznetsov  Soviet Union (URS) 1956–1960 0 0 2 2
11= Leonel Suárez  Cuba (CUB) 2008–2012 0 0 2 2

Medals by country[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 14 8 7 29
2  Great Britain (GBR) 2 0 0 2
3  Soviet Union (URS) 1 3 4 8
4  Finland (FIN) 1 2 0 3
5=  Germany (GER)[nb] 1 1 2 4
5=  Sweden (SWE) 1 1 2 4
7  Czech Republic (CZE) 1 1 1 3
8  East Germany (GDR) 1 1 0 2
9  Estonia (EST) 1 0 1 2
10=  Czechoslovakia (TCH) 1 0 0 1
10=  Norway (NOR) 1 0 0 1
12  West Germany (FRG) 0 3 2 5
13  France (FRA) 0 2 0 2
14=  Belarus (BLR) 0 1 0 1
14=  Republic of China (ROC) 0 1 0 1
14=  Spain (ESP) 0 1 0 1
17=  Canada (CAN) 0 0 2 2
17=  Cuba (CUB) 0 0 2 2
19=  Kazakhstan (KAZ) 0 0 1 1
19=  Poland (POL) 0 0 1 1

Women's heptathlon[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1984 Los Angeles
details
Glynis Nunn
 Australia
Jackie Joyner
 United States
Sabine Everts
 West Germany
1988 Seoul
details
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
 United States
Sabine John
 East Germany
Anke Behmer
 East Germany
1992 Barcelona
details
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
 United States
Irina Belova
 Unified Team
Sabine Braun
 Germany
1996 Atlanta
details
Ghada Shouaa
 Syria
Natallia Sazanovich
 Belarus
Denise Lewis
 Great Britain
2000 Sydney
details
Denise Lewis
 Great Britain
Yelena Prokhorova
 Russia
Natallia Sazanovich
 Belarus
2004 Athens
details
Carolina Klüft
 Sweden
Austra Skujytė
 Lithuania
Kelly Sotherton
 Great Britain
2008 Beijing
details
Nataliya Dobrynska
 Ukraine
Hyleas Fountain
 United States
Kelly Sotherton
 Great Britain
2012 London
details
Jessica Ennis
 Great Britain
Lilli Schwarzkopf
 Germany
Austra Skujytė
 Lithuania
2016 Rio
details
Nafissatou Thiam
 Belgium
Jessica Ennis-Hill
 Great Britain
Brianne Theisen-Eaton
 Canada

Multiple medalists[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Jackie Joyner-Kersee  United States (USA) 1984–1992 2 1 0 3
2 Jessica Ennis  Great Britain (GBR) 2012–2016 1 1 0 2
3 Denise Lewis  Great Britain (GBR) 1996–2000 1 0 1 2
4 Natallia Sazanovich  Belarus (BLR) 1996–2000 0 1 1 2
5 Kelly Sotherton  Great Britain (GBR) 2004–2008 0 0 2 2

Medals by country[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 2 2 0 4
2  Great Britain (GBR) 2 1 3 6
3=  Australia (AUS) 1 0 0 1
3=  Belgium (BEL) 1 0 0 1
3=  Sweden (SWE) 1 0 0 1
3=  Syria (SYR) 1 0 0 1
3=  Ukraine (UKR) 1 0 0 1
8  Russia (RUS) 0 1 1 2
8=  Belarus (BLR) 0 1 1 2
8=  East Germany (GDR) 0 1 1 2
8=  Germany (GER) 0 1 1 2
12=  Lithuania (LTU) 0 1 0 1
12=  Unified Team (EUN) 0 1 0 1
14=  Canada (CAN) 0 0 1 1
14=  West Germany (FRG) 0 0 1 1

Defunct events[edit]

Men's all-around[edit]

Consisted of 100 yards, shot put, high jump, 880 yd walk, hammer throw, pole vault, 120 yd hurdles, weight throw, long jump and mile run.

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1904 St. Louis
details
 Tom Kiely (GBR)  Adam Gunn (USA)  Truxtun Hare (USA)

Men's triathlon[edit]

Consisted of long jump, shot put, and 100 yards.

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1904 St. Louis
details
 Max Emmerich (USA)  John Grieb (USA)  William Merz (USA)

Men's pentathlon[edit]

Consisted of long jump, javelin throw, 200 metres, discus throw, and 1500 metres. Jim Thorpe, the original winner in 1912, was disqualified for professionalism in 1913, but the International Olympic Committee decided to restore Thorpe as the winner in 1982, on the grounds that the professionalism protest had fallen outside of the 30-day limit specified by their rules. The other medals were not reassigned so Thorpe and Ferdinand Bie stand as joint champions.[5] Eero Lehtonen was the most successful athlete in the event's three-edition history, winning two of the three gold medals on offer and being the only person to reach the podium twice.

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1912 Stockholm
details
Ferdinand Bie
 Norway
James Donahue
 United States
Frank Lukeman
 Canada
Jim Thorpe
 United States
1920 Antwerp
details
Eero Lehtonen
 Finland
Everett Bradley
 United States
Hugo Lahtinen
 Finland
1924 Paris
details
Eero Lehtonen
 Finland
Elemér Somfay
 Hungary
Robert LeGendre
 United States

Women's pentathlon[edit]

Consisted of 100 metres hurdles, shot put, high jump, long jump, and 800 metres. Burglinde Pollak, a bronze medalist in 1972 and 1976, was the only woman to win two Olympic pentathlon medals during its five-edition history.

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1964 Tokyo
details
Irina Press
 Soviet Union
Mary Rand
 Great Britain
Galina Bystrova
 Soviet Union
1968 Mexico City
details
Ingrid Becker
 West Germany
Liese Prokop
 Austria
Annamária Tóth
 Hungary
1972 Munich
details
Mary Peters
 Great Britain
Heide Rosendahl
 West Germany
Burglinde Pollak
 East Germany
1976 Montreal
details
Siegrun Siegl
 East Germany
Christine Laser
 East Germany
Burglinde Pollak
 East Germany
1980 Moscow
details
Nadezhda Tkachenko
 Soviet Union
Olga Rukavishnikova
 Soviet Union
Olga Kuragina
 Soviet Union

Intercalated Games[edit]

The 1906 Intercalated Games were held in Athens and at the time were officially recognised as part of the Olympic Games series, with the intention being to hold a games in Greece in two-year intervals between the internationally held Olympics. However, this plan never came to fruition and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later decided not to recognise these games as part of the official Olympic series. Some sports historians continue to treat the results of these games as part of the Olympic canon.[6]

No strictly track and field combined event featured on the programme, as happened at the 1904 Summer Olympics, but the Greeks introduced a variation of the Ancient Olympic pentathlon, this contained four track and field events – standing long jump, ancient-style discus throw, javelin throw and a stadion race (192 m) – with the final event being Greco-Roman wrestling.[7]

American Martin Sheridan was the initial favourite, having already won gold and silver medals in individual jump and throws events, but dropped out due to injury. Lawson Robertson and István Mudin each won two of the rounds (Robertson the long jump and stadion, Mudin the discus and wrestling), but it was Sweden's Hjalmar Mellander who won the gold medal with 24 points. The Swede never finished in the top two of a round, but he performed consistently, never below seventh place in the 27-man field. Mudin of Hungary took a close second place with 25 points.[7] Third place was taken by another Swede, Eric Lemming, who later went on to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the javelin throw.[8]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1906 Athens
details
 Hjalmar Mellander (SWE)  István Mudin (HUN)  Eric Lemming (SWE)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Participation and athlete data
Olympic record progressions
Specific
  1. ^ Athletics at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games: Men's Decathlon. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-23.
  2. ^ 12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009 Archived August 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. (pages 546, 559–60, 649). IAAF (2009). Retrieved on 2011-05-07.
  3. ^ Bryan Clay claims decathlon gold, title as world's greatest athlete
  4. ^ Bryan Clay Wins Olympic Decathlon Gold, World's Greatest Athlete Is an American
  5. ^ a b Jim Thorpe. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-23.
  6. ^ 1906 Athina Summer Games. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-02-07.
  7. ^ a b Athletics at the 1906 Athina Summer Games: Men's Pentathlon (Ancient). Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  8. ^ Eric Lemming. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.

External links[edit]