With a personal best of "only" 7803 points I have never been one of the medal contendors on a World or European level, but my story most likely differs from most other decathletes in two ways.
Firstly I only started doing the decathlon in 2005 aged 25, after having done athletics most of life but focused on high jump and long jump respectively. In retrospect I wish I had done the transsition much much sooner, as it has been difficult to adapt to events that I (before 2005) never before had tried. Most notably hurdles, discus(!) and pole vault have been events that I have not managed to develop to the level I would have liked.
The second way I am different from most other decathletes is that since 2007 I have been working 60-80 hours per week in my professional career as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Still, during these circumstances I have had the privelege to do my best seasons during these last two years, proving it is possible to develop even when you are pushing thirty and then some and even though you are pursuing a professional career.
Due to A LOT of injuries that would require surgery to admitt a continued career (right knee, both achilles tendons, elbow and shoulde) and my age (I turn 32 next year) I have decided to end my decathlon career. Of course, I feel sad for this as participating in Berlin 2009 and Barcelona 2010 have been experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. For a more lengthy resumé, feel free to check out my blog (www.metrobloggen.se/shm).
I wish all my friends and competitors within the decathlon world all the best and good luck in your future adventures!
Daniel Almgren, Sweden