With a victory in Rio on Thursday night, American Ashton Eaton would become just the third man to ever win back-to-back decathlon Olympic titles.
Many are familiar with the general nature of the decathlon–10 events, one of the most grueling events of the Olympics, unbelievable test of versatility, winner gets the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete”–but the actual rules and scoring aren’t quite as well-known.
So how, exactly, does the decathlon work? Here’s a full rundown:
Order of Events
The decathlon consists of 10 events, which span two days of competition. It always starts and ends with a running event.
Scoring System & Formula
In the decathlon, an athlete receives a score for each event, with the cumulative score from all 10 disciplines determining the final standings. Eaton holds the world record with a total score of 9,045 points.
Scoring is independent of other athletes. It’s not based on final position in each discipline, but rather an individual’s final time, height or distance. Here’s the complete formula:
Track Events: Points = a*(b-T)ˆc, where T is time in seconds, while a, b and c are set numbers unique to each event
Jumps: Points = a*(M-b)ˆc, where M is measured in centimeters, while a, b and c are set numbers unique to each event
Throws: Points = a*(D-b)ˆc, where D is distance in meters, while a, b and c are set numbers unique to each event
Note: You can click here (Page 24) to see what a, b and c equal for each event.
When following along, sometimes it’s easier to have a cheat sheet to ballpark how many points someone receives for a certain event. Here’s a helpful table to do that:
|Event||1,000 pts||900 pts||800 pts||700 pts||Unit|