Combined events at the Olympics
at the Olympic Games
Men competing in the 1500 m of the 1948 Olympic decathlon
|Gender||Men and women|
|Years held||Men's decathlon: 1956 – 2012
Women's heptathlon: 1984 – 2012
Women's pentathlon: 1964 – 1980
|Men||8893 pts Roman Šebrle (2004)|
|Women||7291 pts Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988)|
|Men||Ashton Eaton (USA)|
|Women||Jessica Ennis (GBR)|
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. 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 more two 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.
Four men have won two Olympic combined event titles. Bob Mathias and Daley Thompson have both 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. Thorpe's two gold medals were stripped in 1913 on the grounds that he had broken amateurism rules, but the International Olympic Committee restored him as the champion in 1982 (other medalists were not demoted).
|1=||Mathias, BobBob Mathias||United States (USA)||1948–1952||2||0||0||2|
|1=||Thompson, DaleyDaley Thompson||Great Britain (GBR)||1980–1984||2||0||0||2|
|3=||Campbell, MiltMilt Campbell||United States (USA)||1952–1956||1||1||0||2|
|3=||Johnson, RaferRafer Johnson||United States (USA)||1956–1960||1||1||0||2|
|3=||Šebrle, RomanRoman Šebrle||Czech Republic (CZE)||2000–2004||1||1||0||2|
|3=||Clay, BryanBryan Clay||United States (USA)||2004–2008||1||1||0||2|
|7||Avilov, MykolaMykola Avilov||Soviet Union (URS)||1972–1976||1||0||1||2|
|8||Järvinen, AkillesAkilles Järvinen||Finland (FIN)||1928–1932||0||2||0||2|
|9||Walde, Hans-JoachimHans-Joachim Walde|| West Germany (FRG)
Unified Team of Germany (EUA)
|10=||Simmons, FloydFloyd Simmons||United States (USA)||1948–1952||0||0||2||2|
|10=||Kuznetsov, VasiliVasili Kuznetsov||Soviet Union (URS)||1956–1960||0||0||2||2|
|10=||Suárez, LeonelLeonel Suárez||Cuba (CUB)||2008–2012||0||0||2||2|
Medals by country
|1||United States (USA)||13||8||7||28|
|2||Great Britain (GBR)||3||0||0||3|
|3||Soviet Union (URS)||1||3||4||8|
|7||Czech Republic (CZE)||1||1||1||3|
|8||East Germany (GDR)||1||1||0||2|
|12||West Germany (FRG)||0||3||2||5|
|13=||Republic of China (ROC)||0||1||0||1|
- nb The German total includes teams both competing as Germany and the Unified Team of Germany, but not East or West Germany.
|1||Joyner-Kersee, JackieJackie Joyner-Kersee||United States (USA)||1984–1992||2||1||0||3|
|2||Lewis, DeniseDenise Lewis||Great Britain (GBR)||1996–2000||1||0||1||2|
|3||Sazanovich, NatalliaNatallia Sazanovich||Belarus (BLR)||1996–2000||0||1||1||2|
|4||Chernova, TatyanaTatyana Chernova||Russia (RUS)||2008–2012||0||0||2||2|
Medals by country
|1||United States (USA)||2||2||0||4|
|2||Great Britain (GBR)||2||0||2||4|
|8=||East Germany (GDR)||0||1||1||2|
|11=||Unified Team (EUN)||0||1||0||1|
|13||West Germany (FRG)||0||0||1||1|
Consisted of long jump, shot put, and 100 yards.
|1904 St. Louis
||Max Emmerich (USA)||John Grieb (USA)||William Merz (USA)|
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. 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.
||Ferdinand Bie (NOR)||James Donahue (USA)||Frank Lukeman (CAN)|
|Jim Thorpe (USA)|
||Eero Lehtonen (FIN)||Everett Bradley (USA)||Hugo Lahtinen (FIN)|
||Eero Lehtonen (FIN)||Elemér Somfay (HUN)||Robert LeGendre (USA)|
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.
||Irina Press (URS)||Mary Rand (GBR)||Galina Bystrova (URS)|
|1968 Mexico City
||Ingrid Becker (FRG)||Liese Prokop (AUT)||Annamária Tóth (HUN)|
||Mary Peters (GBR)||Heide Rosendahl (FRG)||Burglinde Pollak (GDR)|
||Siegrun Siegl (GDR)||Christine Laser (GDR)||Burglinde Pollak (GDR)|
||Nadezhda Tkachenko (URS)||Olga Rukavishnikova (URS)||Olga Kuragina (URS)|
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.
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.
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. Third place was taken by another Swede, Eric Lemming, who later went on to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the javelin throw.
||Hjalmar Mellander (SWE)||István Mudin (HUN)||Eric Lemming (SWE)|
- Participation and athlete data
- Athletics Athletics Men's Pentathlon Medalists. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- Athletics Men's Decathlon Medalists. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- Athletics Men's All-Around Championship Medalists. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- Athletics Women's Pentathlon Medalists. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- Athletics Women's Heptathlon Medalists. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- Olympic record progressions
- Mallon, Bill (2012). TRACK & FIELD ATHLETICS - OLYMPIC RECORD PROGRESSIONS. Track and Field News. Retrieved on 2014-02-07.
- Athletics at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games: Men's Decathlon. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-23.
- 12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009 (pages 546, 559–60, 649). IAAF (2009). Retrieved on 2011-05-07.
- Bryan Clay claims decathlon gold, title as world's greatest athlete
- Bryan Clay Wins Olympic Decathlon Gold, World's Greatest Athlete Is an American
- Jim Thorpe. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-23.
- 1906 Athina Summer Games. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-02-07.
- Athletics at the 1906 Athina Summer Games: Men's Pentathlon (Ancient). Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- Eric Lemming. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- IAAF heptathlon homepage
- IAAF decathlon homepage
- Official Olympics website
- Olympic athletics records from Track & Field News