Over 250 multieventers, including World and Olympic medallists, have supported a call for larger fields in the decathlon, heptathlon and pentathlon at major International Championships.
The direction of travel on field sizes in the combined events is a longstanding concern. In 2018, when the qualification system for the 2020 Olympic Games was published, the great Hungarian decathlete Attila Zsivoczky was surprised and saddened to see that only 24 athletes were to be invited to each of the combined events.
He did a little research and identified how many athletes had participated in the combined events since 1988, the Games at which Jackie Joyner Kersee set her iconic heptathlon world record. The numbers have varied, with an average of 35, but the peak was the 2008 Games in Beijing, where over 40 athletes competed in both events.
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Those fields in Beijing included a young Andrei Krauchanka, who won the silver medal in the decathlon. They also included rising stars such as Olexiy Kasyanov, Hannah Melnychenko (now Kasyanov), Antoinette Nana Djimou, Yana Maksimava; and Attila Zsivoczky himself, in his final Olympics.
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