On This Day

The Decathlon in History

Events in Sport

Olympic 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

  • 1936-08-08 American Glenn Morris' decathlon total of 7,254 points is a world record; teammates 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 teammate Leonid Lytvynenko by 419 points
  • 1976-07-30 Future TV personality ('Keeping Up with the Kardashians') and transgender figure, Bruce Jenner (now Caitlin Jenner) sets WR 8,618 points to win decathlon gold at Montreal Olympics
  • 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
  • 1991-08-30 Dan O'Brien sets US decathlon record with 8,812 points
  • 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

Jim Thorpe

1887-05-28 Jim Thorpe, American all-round athlete (Olympic gold decathlon, pentathlon 1912; College & Pro Football Hall of Fame), born in Indian Territory, Oklahoma (d. 1953)

  • 1930-11-17 Bob Mathias, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1948, 52) and congressman, born in Tulare, California (d. 2006)
  • 1933-12-09 Milt Campbell, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1956), born in Plainfield, New Jersey (d. 2012)
  • 1934-08-18 Rafer Johnson, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1960), born in Hillsboro, Texas (d. 2020)
  • 1939-01-10 Bill Toomey, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1968), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1940-02-17 Willi Holdorf, German athlete (Olympic gold, United Team of Germany, decathlon 1964), born in Blomesche Wildnis, Germany (d. 2020)
  • 1949-10-28 Caitlyn Jenner [born Bruce Jenner], American athlete (Olympic gold decathlon 1976), TV personality ('Keeping Up with the Kardashians') and prominent transgender figure, born in Mt Kisco, New York
  • 1958-07-30 Daley Thompson, British decathlete (Olympic gold 1980, 84), born in London, England
  • 1966-07-18 Dan[iel Dion] O'Brien, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1996), born in Portland, Oregon
  • 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

Weddings in Sport

  • 1991-04-21 Olympic gold winning decathlete Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner) weds Kris Kardashian in Bel Air, Los Angeles

Deaths in Sport

  • 2006-09-02 Bob Mathias, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1948, 52) and congressman, dies of cancer at 75
  • 2012-11-02 Milt Campbell, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1956), dies from prostate cancer and diabetes at 78
  • 2020-07-05 Willi Holdorf, German athlete (Olympic gold, United Team of Germany, decathlon 1964), dies at 80
  • 2020-12-02 Rafer Johnson, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1960), dies from stroke complications at 86