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Decathlon and Heptathlon in the 2012 London Summer Olympics

As part of the large athletics category of events in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Olympians might compete in the decathlon (men) or heptathlon (women) instead of or in addition to individual track and field events. The decathlon is a combination of ten track and field events, and the heptathlon is a combination of seven track and field events.

What is the Olympic decathlon?

For the decathlon and heptathlon, Olympians earn points in each of the individual events. Points are awarded based on their individual performances and not based on how the competition performs. Winners are determined from combining points (much like the all-around category in gymnastics).

At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, men will compete in the first five events on August 8 and the second five events on August 9:

  1. 100-meter dash

  2. Long jump

  3. Shot put

  4. High jump

  5. 400-meter run

  6. 110-meter hurdles

  7. Discus throw

  8. Pole vault

  9. Javelin

  10. 1500-meter run

These events use the same courses and equipment as the individual events. And, like the individual events, only three athletes from each country may participate.

Failure to complete any events is considered a failure and disqualifies the decathlete from the decathlon.

What is the Olympic heptathlon?

At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, women will compete in the first four events on August 3 and the second three events on August 4:

  1. 100-meter hurdles

  2. High jump

  3. Shot put

  4. 200-meter run

  5. Long jump

  6. Javelin

  7. 800-meter run

These events use the same courses and equipment as the individual events. And, like the individual events, only three athletes from each country may participate.

Failure to complete any events is considered a failure and disqualifies the haptathlete from the heptathlon.

In the decathlon and heptathlon, runners are allowed two false starts (versus just one in the individual races), but competitors are allowed only three attempts in throwing and jumping events.

For more information about the decathlon, heptathlon, and road events, check out the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the sport's governing body.

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