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Comparing records - more remarks (3)

May 12, 2011

Is a decathlete a real athlete? Commentators, world records, decathlon and prejudice!
Part III   Comparing records  - more remarks

We still have to make some remarks about the so called “easiness” to equal records from the multi events. Another disadvantage!

Normally you would think that because of the disadvantage that combined events athletes are confronted with, they should be given at least the six tries other athletes are given for events affecting a horizontal long distance jump or throw (LJ, SP, DT, JT). That isn’t the way it goes. Still the comparisons are strictly made but are all current world records made in the first three tries? Another list. 

Long Jump

7.85

8.54

8.29

x

8.95

x

LJ indoor

6.77

8.21

8.19

x

8.30

8.79

Shot Put

21.89

23.12

22.55

22.44

22.34

22.76

SP indoor

21.37

21.42

21.15

x

21.43

22.66

Discus

67.20

x

x

74.08

x

Pass

Javelin

87.76

92.88

98.48

91.44

x

87.88

As we can see, Mike Powel (long jump) and Jürgen Schult (discus) would never have been world record holder if they were given only three tries. Mike Powel’s second (best ever) jump (legal) is 8m70! So Bob Beamon’s 8m90 (first try) would still be the world record. Schult’s second best throw of his life is 70m46 two years after his world record! For the long jump indoor as well as the shot put indoor, other scores would count as a world record. Of course there’s no problem with the six tries[1] and the current world records but it’s fair to compare only within three tries! Probably difficult but not the problem of the decathlon fan. It’s about considering all things what critics not always do – critics that sometimes not even know that triple jump and hammer throw isn’t part of a decathlon and critics that think it’s about swimming riding a bike and running.

Personal records from world record holders aren’t records done on world championships or the Olympics or any other special occasion. If they are legally done in Timboektoe, the north pole, the dessert or planet mars, its accepted as a world record! On the other hand decathletes or heptathletes  have to wait until the right occasion (a multi event) to perform in combined events if they want to make a comparable score? Of course there is a difference between records in decathlon (or heptathlon) and personal records from athletes participating in multi events! To the fan, the scores in combined events are of great value, but because they are not counted to compare, the versatile athletes have another disadvantage. Let us give them the same treatment and count in- but also outside of combined athletic competition[2]. Let’s investigate how multi - e athletes perform at an 89 % total of the decathlon events.

[1] One problem if Decathletes today would be given six tries is that results are not longer comparable with earlier scores.

[2] Sebrle once said “What I can do outside of combined competition I can do in decathlon”.

Next time: Part IV Real Records!?

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Chris Vlamynck & Janek Salmistu for Decathlon 2000

Comments (3)

Dimitry Yakoushkin wrote on May 12, 2011
Comparing earlier scores is something people might have to let go of in order to allow the event (and scoring) to advance. Also, all that really matters is the WR. Thus if you make an adjustment in the middle of a time when the WR is being broken (hint - in a year or two when eaton breaks it) and then make the change, it will be "fair", as the next record will be by the person who already has it.
I'd love to see something like 15 total attempts between the long jump, shot, disc and jav, that the athlete can use in any way. (for example, if you get a great long jump in the first two attempts, but want six throws in the shot, then end up using another six in the disc, it would leave you one javelin throw.) That way, I think the total time for the decathlon would be the same over each day (many people would still end up using 10-12 attempts and the average would probably still be 12 total between the 4 events.) Regardless, right now in athletics I think the most important thing, by far, is to change female hurdle height and implement weight. It would reset the heptathlon world record, for one, and put the disc and hurdle records back to planet earth and into a time where there is more comprehensive drug testing. I'd much rather see that change first
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ChrisB wrote on May 15, 2011
Dimitry,
12 attempts or more in total! Seems a very good idee to me! Makes me think of the new wind rule - as long as the 6 meters total is not passed. Or a fourth attempt in case of three faults on the condition that you have two tries for the next horizontal distance movement. Ok you better be a good javelin thrower!
Eaton? Do n't be surprised if he breakes it this year. My prediction: at least 8800+ and the American record certainly possible!
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Stein6638 wrote on May 26, 2011
eaton could potentially go 8700 this year but the world record is not within reach. Unless he improves his throws alot more and from seeing videos of his technique, if he continues the same in javelin he will go nowhere and shot put that technique can only get him so far.
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