The decathlon consists of ten track and field events spread over two days. It is the most physically demanding event for athletes. On day one, the m, long jump, shot putt, high jump and m are contested. On day two, the competitors face the m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and, finally, the m.
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The scoring tables for the decathlon have undergone continual evolution since their inception about a century ago, with several changes to both the character of the equations and the indices on which the equations are based. All of the earliest attempts at formalizing decathlon scoring, from the first formal submission prepared by the U. The decathlon was first included in the Olympic Games in , requiring a uniform standard. The first Olympic tables adopted were also linear functions; they were based not on world or national records, but, rather, on the Olympic records for each of the individual events.
The tables were soon updated with the Olympic records — and the universally disliked extension of event scores to three decimal places was discarded in favor of integer scores — and the tables were used thus in the next four Olympiads.
The rapid evolution of the scoring tables caused results to vary widely. Beginning in , the IAAF considered, at least, the following criteria for a legitimate decathlon scoring table:  1 The table should reflect the fact that, at higher levels of performance, a unit gain such as a decrement of 0. In , the IAAF adopted a new set of scoring tables, proposed by Suomen Urheiluliitto the Finnish athletics federation , that had already been used for a few years in national competitions in Finland.
This scoring system implemented vast changes, with the following features:  1 All of the individual events were scored with exponential functions , rather than the linear functions that had characterized all decathlon scoring tables to date. For field events , this was a straightforward statistical procedure; for track events, the reciprocal of the athlete's time, representing speed , was used as the independent variable.
Zero points corresponded to the performances of untrained schoolchildren, and point performances corresponded closely to world records. After World War II , the Finnish and Swedish athletics federations joined forces to draft scoring tables appropriate for Olympic athletes' improved postwar performances. All of the tables remained progressive in nature; in fact, the progressive character of every one of the ten tables increased.
In the years following the implementation of the tables, controversy arose, in regard to the highly progressive character of the tables. Specifically, the tables conferred a distinct advantage on decathletes who were specialists in individual events, with passing, but not stellar, performances in the other events, while putting well-rounded athletes at a relative disadvantage.
By the early s, more problems had been pointed out with the then-current scoring tables. Moreover, besides sapping decathletes' motivation to improve in field events, the tables also gave an unfair advantage to competitors in the track events — both because those tables were still progressive and because decathletes' performances in those events were much closer to the world records.
The IAAF working committee therefore met in in Prague to develop improved tables, putting forth the following nine principles, which still stand today: . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 28 September IAAF Athletics. Retrieved 26 October The Decathlon Association.
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Decathlon: the Art of Scoring Points
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Decathlon scoring tables