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  • #16
    Originally posted by noone View Post
    Kevin Mayer ranked the events according to "danger", the risk of getting 0 points. I believe the order was PV, 110, LJ, DT, JT, HJ, SP, the flat runs. I would guess there have been countless 0's in the 1500 but due to athletes being out of contention
    ​​​​​​
    I think in most cases, they didn't start the 1500 so they would be DNFs for the whole decathlon.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by noone View Post
      Very interesting. Intuitively, I would have pretty much guessed the order correctly. Before the 400, I tell myself “who cares, they’ll all run between 48 and 50 seconds”.
      So the last four events are the most important ones! This explains the Niklaus Kaul effect!
      Another reason why the 400 doesn't tend to lead to many changes in order is that those who score highly in it tend to have a strong first 4 events anyway.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by cigar95 View Post

        If the technical events *didn't* show more variability in their scores, we might suspect an issue with the tables themselves.

        I'm wondering if this might be an issue with the tables for the high hurdles. Whacking a couple hurdles can really costly in terms of performance - you'd think that would be reflected in variability of the scores, and at least keep the hurdles away from the bottom rungs of the ladder. One possibility is that the hurdles are an event where decathletes are generally going to be pretty good, so these bad mistakes aren't as frequent. Another possibility is that when they make really *bad* mistakes, the score suffers badly enough that they don't score over 8200 and don't make it into the database. Certainly this would be the case for a fall and dnf.
        Good post.

        Re 110h -
        I agree that that there is a problem in the fact that I included only good performances (above 8200) so we don't see the entire distribution. This bias is especially affecting the 110h as disasters are more frequent than most other events in the decathlon. Unfortunately, I can't see a solution to the problem as collecting the data of all decathlons is virtually impossible. However, I don't think that this bias is the entire story as there are other events with high probability of really bad outcome (e.g. LJ, PV).

        I think that the low scoring in 110h comes from two related aspects.
        1. I think that there is a problem with the scoring tables. An improvement of 0.1 in the 100 is worth almost twice as much than a similar improvement in the 110h (25 vs 13). While I agree that it is harder to drop 0.1 of your time in the 100, I think that the reward for improvement in the 100h is too "stingy".
        2. The "disaster" effect - because of the risk of falling, decathletes typically uses a more conservative approach to hurdling. For example, Eaton typically ran 13.6 - 13.8 during a decathlon, while in reality he was 0.3 second faster. The low rewards for an improvement in the 110h (see point 1) further push decathletes to more conservative approach and not to master the art of tight hurdling in high speed. This leads to the fact that the decathletes in the "good" group are not as good as they were suppose to be based on their potential abilities.

        Unfortunately, I cannot think of a way to test this topic with my data, so I will signoff.
        Last edited by olorin; 07-21-2021, 05:09 AM.

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        • #19
          Olorin if you get bored after Tokyo, we will be having our Women's Decathlon Association Championship on August 21-22 Forecasting for our event has always been a challenge, with so few decathlons offered and so many athletes trying events for the first time, now we can add extra time off due to COVID to the mix!

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          • #20
            Originally posted by polevaultpower View Post
            Olorin if you get bored after Tokyo, we will be having our Women's Decathlon Association Championship on August 21-22 Forecasting for our event has always been a challenge, with so few decathlons offered and so many athletes trying events for the first time, now we can add extra time off due to COVID to the mix!
            Thanks for the compliment, but I am afraid that you overestimate my abilities (and/or underestimate the difficulty of the task in hand).
            I follow men decathlon closely for over a decade and still can't come out with a good way to predict scores, so doing this for women with all the problems that you mentioned is way above my capabilities.
            Regardless, good luck with the event and hopefully Jordan Grey (someone else?) will break the AR.
            I would also like to ask other posters to avoid the never ending debate about women decathlon and keep this thread for his original purpose.

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            • #21
              Question 2 - Correlation between decathlon events
              The traditional way to divide decathletes into three categories. Those that are good in the running events, those that are good in the jumping events and those that are good in the throwing events. Some decathletes fit almost perfectly the above categorization. Eaton is considered to be a runner-jumper decathlete and indeed he was good in 6/7 events (except HJ), whereas Sebrle and Pappas are more of the thrower-jumper type of decathletes. But are these categorizations real? In other words, are those decathletes that are good in HJ also tend to be good in PV?
              The straightforward method is to examine the correlation between each event. However, the difference between a correlation of 0.3 to 0.5 is hard to quantify. So instead, I use the same method as for the for the first question. That is, I divide each event to ten even groups (deciles) and then examine the performance of the highest vs. lowest decile in the other nine events. For example, decathletes in highest decile in the 100 score 74 more points in the LJ than those decathletes in the lowest decile of the 100; suggesting (not surprisingly) a rather strong positive correlation between the two events.

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              • #22
                Bottom line -
                The sprinter decathlete indeed exits and those decathletes that are good in the 100 are also good in the LJ, 110h and the 400. On the other hand, there is a negative relation between the sprint events and the 1,500. So, Eaton was the exception rather than the rule.


                The jumper decathlete is largely fake news. There is only a low correlation between the HJ and the LJ and virtually no relation between these two jumps and the PV.

                The relation between the SP and the DT is the strongest of any pair in the decathlon, but there is only a very weak relation between the JT and the other two throws.

                If we combine the results of the first two questions, we can see how both sprinters and non-sprinter a like can be competitive in the decathlon. Sprint events give relatively low points for excellence but being good in one makes a decathlete more likely to be good in another three events. The technical events give much higher reward on their own, but they are uncorrelated with other events. Thus, both Warner and Kaul can compete for gold even though Warner is almost a second faster than Kaul in the 100.

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                • #23
                  Warning: if you enjoy this post then go look in the mirror and know that you are looking at a stat-geek.

                  I had a hard time deciding how to present the results.
                  Eventually, I decided on the full version of the table. The rows represent the event (good vs. bad) and the columns the difference between the highest and lowest decile in each of the decathlon events. Blue and red are positive and negative relation and the number along the diagonal are the same numbers as the previous post (question 1).

                  Few examples:
                  Those that are good in the 100 score 96 points more in the 110h compared with those that are bad in the 100.

                  Those that are good in the LJ score 40 points less in the DT compared with those that are bad in the LJ.
                  Those that are good in the DT score the same in the JT compared with those that are bad in the DT.
                  100 LJ SP HJ 400 110h DT PV JT 1500
                  100 194 74 -2 -45 72 96 4 -5 -48 -93
                  LJ 71 216 -21 14 36 28 -40 8 -23 -29
                  SP 3 -22 190 -19 -21 -1 110 -51 29 -82
                  HJ -26 21 -11 223 -23 -26 -14 -12 -40 -10
                  400 95 48 -41 -42 166 55 -73 8 -30 23
                  110h 110 43 5 -52 66 173 -3 6 -31 -44
                  DT -2 -39 89 -6 -37 -8 228 -67 0 -68
                  PV 8 10 -60 -21 2 2 -64 287 -23 -22
                  JT -39 -27 20 -23 -22 -22 2 -24 284 -8
                  1500 -71 -29 -59 -16 23 -40 -55 -27 3 264
                  Disclaimer: I am oversimplifying here (yes, I know!) but the results are similar when I did the exact calculations.
                  Last edited by olorin; 07-21-2021, 11:16 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by olorin View Post
                    There is only a low correlation between the HJ and the LJ
                    That certainly is surprising, esp. given that all 8200 Decathletes can run fast. JuVaughn Harrison is looking better all the time!

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                    • #25
                      Stones used to say that high jumpers tended to be good javelin throwers. (Maybe he still does, though I haven't seen him cover a deca in a long time.) Any evidence of that?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by cigar95 View Post
                        Stones used to say that high jumpers tended to be good javelin throwers. (Maybe he still does, though I haven't seen him cover a deca in a long time.) Any evidence of that?
                        Well. they do tend to have long levers and good limb speed. It's the 'arm/shoulder' strength they may be lacking.

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                        • #27
                          Olorin, do your calculations include pre 1984 performances? Any incite on how modern decathletes compare with the guys from the 80s and 90s would be appreciated. With my untrained eye it looks like the guys filling the top spots on the all-time lists, your Ashton Eaton’s, Damian Warner’s and Kevin Mayer’s are all speed based athletes and therefore it’s becoming harder to be truly world class as an all-rounder or throwing specialist. Pappas, Harder and Clay were exceptional, but it was Eatons extra speed that took him to the world record

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                          • #28
                            Hardee* excuse me

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by olorin View Post
                              Those that are good in the 100 score 96 points more in the 400 compared with those that are bad in the 100.

                              Typo here. The latter event should be the 110 hurdles, not the 400. Alternatively, if the latter event remains the 400, then the difference should be 72, not 96.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by cigar95 View Post
                                Stones used to say that high jumpers tended to be good javelin throwers. (Maybe he still does, though I haven't seen him cover a deca in a long time.) Any evidence of that?
                                olorin's data suggests the opposite:

                                Those that are good in the high jump score 40 points less in the javelin throw compared with those that are bad in the high jump.

                                Those that are good in the javelin throw score 23 points less in the high jump compared with those that are bad in the javelin throw.

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