The Decathlon in History

Events in Sport

OlympicsOlympic Gold

1912-07-15 American athlete Jim Thorpe is placed in top 4 in all 10 events, for an Olympic record 8,413 points to win the Decathlon gold medal at the Stockholm Olympics, medal stripped 1913 (played pro baseball), reinstated 1982

Versatile Athlete Jim Thorpe
Versatile Athlete
Jim Thorpe
  • 1936-08-08 American Glenn Morris' decathlon total of 7,254 points is a world record; team mates Bob Clark & Jack Parker complete US sweep in the gruelling event at the Berlin Olympics
  • 1948-08-06 17 year old American Bob Mathias scores 7,139 points to edge out Ignace Heinrich of France by just 165 in the decathlon at the London Olympics
  • 1956-11-30 Milt Campbell sets Olympic record total of 7,937 points to upset fellow American and world record holder Rafer Johnson, and win the decathlon gold medal at the Melbourne Games
  • 1960-09-06 In a famous victory American decathlete Rafer Johnson scores Olympic record 8,392 points to win the gold medal in Rome; beats rival & friend C.K. Yang of China by 58 points
  • 1969-12-12 Decathlon Bill Toomey achieves world record-score of 8417 points
  • 1972-09-08 Mykola Avilov representing the Soviet Union scores a world record 8454 points to win the decathlon gold medal at the Munich Olympics; beats team mate Leonid Lytvynenko by 419 points
  • 1983-01-18 IOC restores Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals (Pentathlon & Decathlon victories) 70 years after they were taken from him for being paid $25 in semi-pro baseball
  • 1984-06-09 Jurgen Hingsen of West Germany sets record for decathlon, 8,798 pts
  • 1984-08-09 Daley Thompson of Great Britain scores 8,797 points to win the Olympic decathlon in Los Angeles; later recognised as a world record
  • 1988-09-29 East German athlete Christian Schenk beats countryman Torsten Voss by 89 points to win the decathlon gold medal at the Seoul Olympics; Canadian Dave Steen is another 71 points back in third place
  • 1992-06-27 Dan O'Brien fails on pole vault & eliminated from Olympics decathlon
  • 1992-09-05 Dan O'Brien sets world record decathlon (8891 pts)
  • 1996-08-01 Dan O'Brien wins the decathlon gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics to become the first American since Bruce Jenner in 1976 to win the gruelling event
  • 2004-08-24 Roman Šebrle of the Czech Republic (8,893 points OR) edges American Bryan Clay (8,820) in the decathlon at the Athens Olympics
  • 2008-08-22 American decathlete Brian Clay wins 4 of the 10 events and finishes 2nd in 2 others to dominate field and take the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1930-11-17 Bob Mathias, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1948, 52) and congressman, born in Tulare, California (d. 2006)
  • 1933-07-10 Chuan-Kwang Yang, Taiwanese decathlete (Olympic silver 1960), born in Taitung, Taiwan (d. 2007)
  • 1933-12-09 Milt Campbell, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1956), born in Plainfield, New Jersey (d. 2012)
  • 1935-08-18 Rafer Johnson, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1960), born in Hillsboro, Texas
  • 1939-01-10 Bill Toomey, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1968), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1958-07-30 Daley Thompson, British decathlete (Olympic gold 1980, 84), born in London, England
  • 1967-07-22 Shawn Wilbourn, US decathlete
  • 1967-09-16 Michael Smith, Kenora Ontario, decathlete (Olympics 1996)
  • 1969-09-06 Doug Pirini, New Zealand decathlete (Olympics 1996), born in Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1970-06-25 Erki Nool, Estonian decathlete (Olympic Gold 2000), born in Võru, Estonia
  • 1971-01-17 Peter Winter, Australian decathlete (Olympics 1996), born in Melbourne, Victoria
  • 1975-02-27 Prodromos Korkizoglou, Greek decathlete, born in Larissa, Greece
  • 1975-10-31 Jagan Hames, Australian decathlete (Olympics 1996), born in McLaren Vale, Australia
  • 1980-01-03 Bryan Clay, American decathlete (Olympic gold 2008; World C'ship gold 2005), born in Austin, Texas
  • 1980-05-14 Eugene Martineau, Dutch decathlete
  • 1982-01-12 Hans Van Alphen, Belgian decathlete, born in Turnhout, Belgium
  • 1982-12-28 François Gourmet, Belgian decathlete, born in Libramont-Chevigny, Belgium
  • 1983-05-11 Frédéric Xhonneux, Belgian decathlete

Deaths in Sport

  • 2006-09-02 Bob Mathias, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1948, 52) and congressman, dies of cancer at 75
  • 2007-01-27 Chuan-Kwang Yang, Taiwanese decathlete (Olympic silver 1960), dies at 73
  • 2012-11-02 Milt Campbell, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1956), dies from prostate cancer and diabetes at 78