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Should drop the heptathlon for the decathlon

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  • Should drop the heptathlon for the decathlon

    My friend and I were discussing this on Friday and Saturday watching the heptathlon at the trials. Isn't it about time they drop the heptathlon and have women do the decathlon?
    "Long may you run"- Neil Young

  • #2
    They should move in that direction, but I don't think it's time yet. At least not where the Olympics and WC are concerned. The main problem is the pole vault. Athletic opportunities for women around the world are already limited compared to men; once you throw in the pole vault, that's another big limiting factor that will toss many women out of the multis. Lots of colleges in the US don't do pole vault even though they have a track team, and lots of countries around the world also don't do pole vault at all even though they may have multiple medalists in other events.

    It has to be announced long in advance to minimize the effect on current heptathletes ... don't kill their careers by forcing them to learn the pole vault at this stage of their life, especially since many won't have access to it unless they relocate to another part of the country (or another country!) where the equipment and coaching is available. So that means 2016 or 2020, by which time women's pole vaulting will be more widespread, the current elite heptathletes will be almost all retired, and the few who aren't retired would have had some time to learn the vault.

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    • #3
      A big part of it from our standpoint was that the heptathalon really favors the sprinter and not so much the all-around athlete as the decathlon. There's basically one event- the shot put- that falls outside of that. I disagreed but my friend even thought the shot is more a sprinter-type, fast twitch muscle event.
      "Long may you run"- Neil Young

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      • #4
        As a fervid proponent of the women's decathlon, I'm not buying the primary arguments against it. The women can train right alongside the men, wherever they are. When the women's Pole Vault was first recognized by the IAAF, it quickly became a viable and popular event all over the world. Same with the Dec. The 2017 World Championships should be the firm goal.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Marlow
          As a fervid proponent of the women's decathlon, I'm not buying the primary arguments against it.
          I agree there should be no problem with PV for those starting out but I do agree that phasing in the decathlon might be a good idea. Not sure how but there will be many world class heptathletes that can't PV to save their lives. They either need time to either get good at it or retire. Four years seems like the minimum.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Marlow
            As a fervid proponent of the women's decathlon, I'm not buying the primary arguments against it. The women can train right alongside the men, wherever they are. When the women's Pole Vault was first recognized by the IAAF, it quickly became a viable and popular event all over the world. Same with the Dec. The 2017 World Championships should be the firm goal.
            2017 is a reasonable target. 2012 isn't.

            There is a big difference between the addition of the pole vault as a separate event, vs. the addition of the pole vault in the context of the replacing heptathlon with the decathlon.

            When the pole vault was added as a separate event for women, it became a pure positive. Women had all the other existing events to choose from, and then they also had the pole vault. That's more opportunities for them. Sure, many women didn't and still don't have access to the pole vault, but those women weren't any worse off; they still had their same old events available. Same thing with the steeplechase being added.

            But when you *replace* the heptathlon with the decathlon, you're making a fundamental change, not making a pure addition. Introducing the pole vault is so different from what the existing heptathletes are used to, that lots would simply have to drop out of it because they either lack the ability or desire to vault well or lack the facilities and coaching. Future multi-athletes however, upon knowing that the decathlon is coming in 8 or 10 years, can choose their college or city with the pole vault in mind, and start learning it in high school if available.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sprintblox
              There is a big difference between the addition of the pole vault as a separate event, vs. the addition of the pole vault in the context of the replacing heptathlon with the decathlon.
              Valid point, but the two primary arguments FOR the wDec remain:

              1. Ending the tacit sexism.
              2. Raising the women's mutli to a better test of overall athleticism.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Marlow
                Originally posted by sprintblox
                There is a big difference between the addition of the pole vault as a separate event, vs. the addition of the pole vault in the context of the replacing heptathlon with the decathlon.
                Valid point, but the two primary arguments FOR the wDec remain:

                1. Ending the tacit sexism.
                2. Raising the women's mutli to a better test of overall athleticism.
                Precisely the reasons my friend and I think it's time to move in that direction.
                "Long may you run"- Neil Young

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marlow
                  Originally posted by sprintblox
                  There is a big difference between the addition of the pole vault as a separate event, vs. the addition of the pole vault in the context of the replacing heptathlon with the decathlon.
                  Valid point, but the two primary arguments FOR the wDec remain:

                  1. Ending the tacit sexism.
                  2. Raising the women's mutli to a better test of overall athleticism.
                  I'm not disagreeing on IF there should be a women's decathlon. My point is that NOW (or even 4 years from now) is too soon.

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                  • #10
                    I think it has more to do with "what to do with established heptathletes" more than anything. The IAAF doesn't want to kill careers - which could very well happen to many of the top heps. It's all conjecture that they can make the transition...we don't know.

                    They should phase it out at the junior level first. This will allow the event to begin to shrink by not allowing any additional participants. Maybe increase the OG/WC entry standard to help shrink the pool even further. Implement the dec along side the hep for 8 years to allow the current heps to finish out their careers or make the adjustment to the dec.

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                    • #11
                      there were similar threads on this before.

                      i think it'd be interesting if we kept both 7thlon and 10thlon for both men and women. it might be interesting to see how men would do in an abbreviated competition, with higher marks for each individual event.

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                      • #12
                        Yep - personally, I think we should scrap the decathlon and make the men do the heptathlon instead with the same events, as much as I like watching blokes drag their tired 17st of solid muscle bodies round 3 3/4 laps at midnight on the 2nd day.

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                        • #13
                          Personally, I'd be more content dropping the decathlon to a heptathlon. I have zero interest in the mens multi's mainly because they are too erratic. I mean, no one is ever truly world class in an individual event because there are just too many events that they have to do and If I have to watch another "champion" stroll a 1500 in 4.5x again, I'll vomit. I really don't want to look at an Olympic medalist and say, "I can run quicker than that", "I have jumped further than that" and I CAN actually say that about certain decathletes!

                          I'd say the Decathlon is one of the least favoured events from an audience perspective.

                          The women seem to have quite a few girls who could be/are stars in individual events AND the heptathlon. But the men just seem to be competent athletes who really are Jacks of all trades, masters of none! I prefer masters!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jaack
                            Personally, I'd be more content dropping the decathlon to a heptathlon. I have zero interest in the mens multi's mainly because they are too erratic. I mean, no one is ever truly world class in an individual event because there are just too many events that they have to do. I say ditch the discus and Pole vault. decrease the 1500 to a 800 (If I have to watch another "champion" stroll a 1500 in 4.5x again, I'll vomit) and blend the 1 and 4 to make a 2.

                            I'd say the Decathlon is one of the least favoured events from an audience perspective.

                            The women seem to have quite a few girls who could/are stars in individual events AND the heptathlon. But the men just seem to be competent athletes who really are Jacks of all trades, masters of none! I prefer masters!
                            I completely agree with wanting the men to do heptathlon rather than decathlon. I usually have very little interest in the decathlon as well, unless Dean Macey is competing.

                            Sometimes with multi-events, I think less is more because I'd rather see decathletes excelling or getting close to world-class standards e.g. 8.20m LJ, 5.70m PV etc and during the 1500m procession, it's a good opportunity to make a cup of tea.
                            http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jaack
                              Personally, I'd be more content dropping the decathlon to a heptathlon. I have zero interest in the mens multi's mainly because they are too erratic. I mean, no one is ever truly world class in an individual event because there are just too many events that they have to do and If I have to watch another "champion" stroll a 1500 in 4.5x again, I'll vomit.
                              I'm with you on that. In the interest of gender equality, worldwide participation, and audience interest, I'd rather have both men and women do the heptathlon. And drop it down to one day instead of two.

                              Removing the pole vault would enable many more small or poor countries to have contenders. And doing it in one day would allow it to be incorporated into many more professional meets, thus making it financially feasible for more of the athletes to stay in the sport. Granted, they would still have to do 3 or 4 events in a morning session before the crowd comes in, since most one-day meets are afternoon/evening only, but the one-day schedule would still make it quite viable to include in several meets in the European circuit.

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