When young boys are playing you’ll see that, contrary to girls they are much more sensitive for the question “Who is the strongest?” As a kid it’s easy to qualify only hand to hand combat sports to make a choice. Growing older and having a prejudiced father who was very biased when it came to sports I was, as every young healthy teenager, still very interested in sports. When I was 18 I knew very little about athletics. I even remember seeing the decathlon record in the 1977 Guiness Record Book with Jenners accomplishments but I thought that had to be some kind of a mistake. Again I wondered who was the most versatile athlete in the world. There had to be a lesser ‘aggressive’ way to ‘measure’ (although in combat-sports there are incredible athletes as well) and on TV they played “Superstars” and together with gymnastics I thought we were getting closer. Then in 1977, travelling with a rucksack in Europe I was in Norway Narvik nearby the north pole circle and I met people who lived not so far from my hometown. We went to a tavern to drink something and there played a Montreal 1976 documentary on TV. I said to the others “Have you seen that guys?” “ What?” “Well it’s incredible, I saw that guy running the 100, then doing the long jump, shot put and the high jump….. and what’s coming next?”
They looked at me as I came from Mars. One of them said (with a pause between each word!) “Don’t you know the decathlon?” Feeling a little bit ridiculous I asked “Is that something like superstars”. LOL. “This is Bruce Jenner man” they replied. “He can win superstars on one leg” they said. At last, finally I found the answer to my question. I was so intrigued that when I came home I immediately searched for everything I could find about combined events in athletics. Then came the period between 1980 and 1984 with 9 decathlon world records standing in less than 5 years. So fascinating! Dan O’Brien, Tomas and Roman and now Ash and Kevin (and so many others). I’m still in awe and since the existence of Decathlon 2000 I’m so grateful for Janek’s efforts.
There is a difference in people who declare to like combined events. It’s easy to see if an organizer of an event is more busy with the money than with the sport. Then you have those who come to a meeting because it’s a social happening. Journalists? I was sitting next to a well-paid journalist, he was cursing and asking what the next event was after the discus throw (he had no idea). I have the virus. I recognize if someone has it as well and they …. recognize it in me!
Decathlon-happiness and greetings to you all