Women to compete in decathlon?


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Postby Marlow » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:56 am

Pentathlete wrote:Adding in the PV and DT involves a LOT more time and skill to get good. Unless you have a 'natural' athlete (great coordination, body awareness) like a Mathis.

Isn't that the whole point?
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Postby Mennisco » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:06 am

gh wrote:
Has nothing to do w/ how high they jump at the top end. It's talking about trying to sell to the fans in the stand that it's exciting to watch women jumping under 10-feet,.


Methinks you underestimate the rate of change of technology...when that is fully viewable in 3D, track will really bust out!
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Postby Oldtimer » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:40 am

Pentathlete wrote:Adding in the PV and DT involves a LOT more time and skill to get good. Unless you have a 'natural' athlete (great coordination, body awareness) like a Mathis.


Me thinks Bob Mathias had better coordination and body awareness than Johnny Mathis, even though his 6-5 1/2 was commendable .
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Postby tandfman » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:46 am

Oldtimer wrote:Me thinks Bob Mathias had better coordination and body awareness than Johnny Mathis, even though his 6-5 1/2 was commendable .

Chances are, you're right. :)
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Postby cacique » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 am

i like the idea of a women's decathlon.

but i also like the hep as it is now. one of the things that you see in the women's hept is many women whose marks are world class in their event (e.g. JJK and a few others in the LJ and hurdles, etc.) whereas that doesn't happen with the men.
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Postby bambam » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:11 am

cacique wrote:i like the idea of a women's decathlon.

but i also like the hep as it is now. one of the things that you see in the women's hept is many women whose marks are world class in their event (e.g. JJK and a few others in the LJ and hurdles, etc.) whereas that doesn't happen with the men.


Actually, I think that's a negative. The purpose of an all-around event is to determine the best all-around athlete, not an athlete that excels in one event and the other events are close enough in skill level that they can move over to the heptathlon as well.
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Postby gh » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:51 am

agree w/ bam completely; as currently constituted, the hept is almost exclusively the province of long jumper/hurdler. The throwing component is horridly minimized.
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Postby cacique » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:20 pm

so you two would prefer for example that barber jumped shorter distances and ran slower in the hept.?
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:44 pm

I believe that women should compete in the decathalon, if only to see how they handle the pole vault among other events. I do believe, though, that it should start having it at the 2015 Track and Field World Championships and at the 2016 Olympics, if only to get the women prepared to do the extra events.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby mump boy » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:08 pm

there is no excuse for women not doing the Deca

of the standard would be low to begin with, who cares nobody would be watching the early rounds of the PV anyway so that reasoning is entirely spurious
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Marlow » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:20 pm

I guess the switch to the women's decathlon is going just as well as the American switch to the metric system. There's simply too much inertia to overcome and no one wants to take the point in this endeavor. It SHOULD have happened in the 90s when women's PV, Steeple, and HT got going good.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby gh » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:38 pm

I keep hearing there's very strong resistance from European coaches. The vault is the sticking point. (npi)
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Marlow » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:48 pm

gh wrote:I keep hearing there's very strong resistance from European coaches. The vault is the sticking point. (npi)

One obvious drawback is the sheer expense of poles at almost $600 a whack (shipping is expensive!). I just bought my 36th pole in 17 years! That - and a pit - at $12,000! And a coach . . . etc. Big Euro clubs should have no problem, but the smaller clubs, and individuals, would be hard put to add the new events.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:49 pm

I think that the best solution is to have both the hep and the dec be championship events. They attract very different types of athletes, and there is strong resistance from the hep crowd to it. Have both for ~10 years then see how people feel about dropping the hep.

There's nothing inherently more or less interesting about women doing the dec vs the hep. If anything, the PV would make it more interesting, because it is an inherently interesting event to the general public. People are just resistance to change.

Probably one of the major fears that most won't say, is that the dec will generally attract women with a less visually appealing body type.
Last edited by polevaultpower on Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:50 pm

Marlow wrote:
gh wrote:I keep hearing there's very strong resistance from European coaches. The vault is the sticking point. (npi)

One obvious drawback is the sheer expense of poles at almost $600 a whack (shipping is expensive!). I just bought my 36th pole in 17 years! That - and a pit - at $12,000! And a coach . . . etc. Big Euro clubs should have no problem, but the smaller clubs, and individuals, would be hard put to add the new events.


Oh baloney. What heps are training at a facility with no PV pit? What heps are training somewhere where women don't pole vault at all?

I would imagine the numbers are pretty small for both.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby lonewolf » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:52 pm

Start competition in Womens Dec in 2011, include in Olympics in 2016, using women's implements and 100 hurdles, substituting 100 for 200 and 400 for 800, add 1500. Initial scores may not be very impressive but a new prototype of women multi-eventers will evolve with more emphasis on size and upper body strength necessitated by DT and PV.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Marlow » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:03 pm

polevaultpower wrote:Oh baloney. What heps are training at a facility with no PV pit? What heps are training somewhere where women don't pole vault at all?
I would imagine the numbers are pretty small for both.

Y'know how many smaller HSs don't contest the PV at all because of expense? It's the same with Euro clubs. The bigger ones have PV, the smaller don't. Almost every German town of any appreciable size has a Sport Club with T&F as one of the sports offered. Not a lot of the smaller ones have PV facilities. But I bet many do have heptathletes, nicht wahr?
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:18 pm

Marlow wrote: But I bet many do have heptathletes, nicht wahr?


I doubt too many of them have world-class heptathletes.

As athletes get older they move from doing smaller multi-events to bigger ones. Triathlon to pentathlon to heptathlon to decathlon maybe a few in between. So I don't think smaller clubs not having the PV is a major issue. Who cares if they can't support one more event. They are already not offering a full slate. Most are probably youth focused, and I think it would be much longer until women were doing the dec at the junior level.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Marlow » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:21 pm

polevaultpower wrote:
Marlow wrote: But I bet many do have heptathletes, nicht wahr?

I doubt too many of them have world-class heptathletes.

And? If they have heptathletes, but no PV facility, how will they move on to the decathlon? The beauty of the Euro system is all the summer meets they can compete in - at all levels - not so much if you can't train for all the events in a Dec.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby bman » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:42 pm

Sometimes it is just ok to stay with tradition, I mean what are you losing? What you don't even have? Why don't we discuss moving the men down instead of vice versa? Because most people would agree that there is little (if at all) inherently more exciting from dec to hep. So why mess everything up?
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Marlow » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:08 pm

bman wrote:Because most people would agree that there is little (if at all) inherently more exciting from dec to hep. So why mess everything up?

Because three more events creates three more opportunities for drama (not that I want a 37-athlon!).
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:10 pm

Marlow wrote:
polevaultpower wrote:
Marlow wrote: But I bet many do have heptathletes, nicht wahr?

I doubt too many of them have world-class heptathletes.

And? If they have heptathletes, but no PV facility, how will they move on to the decathlon? The beauty of the Euro system is all the summer meets they can compete in - at all levels - not so much if you can't train for all the events in a Dec.



There are TONS of pole vault pits in Germany. It is very popular there, and the country is not _that_ big geographically. I would imagine that if there is a club that does not have pole vault, they are generally within 20 miles or less of a facility that does have it, and it's hard for me to imagine there are many meets in Europe in the summer at facilities with no pole vault.

The number of pole vault pits per square mile is probably much higher in europe as a whole than in the US as a whole.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Marlow » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:15 pm

bman wrote:Because most people would agree that there is little (if at all) inherently more exciting from dec to hep. So why mess everything up?

Because three more events creates three more opportunities for drama (not that I want a enneakaidecathlon! (19events)).
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby DrJay » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:01 pm

Transition over several years. Have an octathlon then nontathlon then decathlon. Add the discus and change the 800 to 1500 for two years. Move the 200 to 100 and add the 400 for the next two. Then add the vault.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby DentyCracker » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:27 pm

Just introduce it like everything else. The athletes will adjust. The sooner they do it the better as far as I see it.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:47 pm

DrJay wrote:Transition over several years. Have an octathlon then nontathlon then decathlon. Add the discus and change the 800 to 1500 for two years. Move the 200 to 100 and add the 400 for the next two. Then add the vault.


There's no need. The women's decathlon has been standardized for several years now, and hundreds, if not thousands, of women have competed in it. Most people here have not noticed because it's not happening at the elite level, but the idea of women doing the dec is not new, it just seems to have stalled out in terms of acceptance in the sport.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby lonewolf » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:49 pm

DentyCracker wrote:Just introduce it like everything else. The athletes will adjust. The sooner they do it the better as far as I see it.

Second the motion.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby gh » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:25 pm

"the athletes will adjust" is an oversimplification; perhaps a gross one. We had a long discussion on this last summer, after several prominent heptettes said they'd retire when the change came. I know, good riddance, and all that. But think of it this way, 2 of the 3 events that will be added change the name of the game mightily. The discus and pole vault require a whole new set of skills (the 100 not at all, nor particularly will the change from 200/800 to 400/1500).

So if you're a world-class athlete, or the coach of one, and you see this monster change on the horizon, you've got a huge choice to make. Remembering that honing specific skills for multiple technique events is paramount to multi-event success, do you sacrifice valuable hurdle/HJ/LJ/JT time in order to prep for the PV/DT as well two years down the road, or do you ignore them completely for "instant" success? And if you fail at instant, when the change comes, you're out of the game.

It's not an easy puzzle to solve, and a far more difficult one than happened with the switch from pentathlon to heptathlon, which required only the learning of the javelin, far easier than the discus or the vault, let alone both.

(having said that, I'm all for biting the bullet and making the change, but I'm neither coach nor heptathlete)
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:24 am

That's why I think a ~10-year transition period of offering both would be good. Let the current heps finish their career as heps, while getting a whole new generation of women going in the dec.

One downside is increased need for officials at meets running both events.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Gabriella » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:46 am

What's all this nonsense about lack of pole vaulting facilities? Erm, wouldn't this be an issue for decathletes too..and polevaulters? Why is this a factor in women not moving to the decathlon?? That is just a stupid argument.

The fact is, there is absolutely no reason why women shouldn't do the decathlon. What do teenage boys do that want to compete in multievents? They learn to do the pole vault. So women that want to compete in the multievents should learn to do the polevault too. This argument that the polevault is too difficult is ridiculous.

I understand gh's point that there will be a dilemma for the transitional period, but the sport has coped before when we went from the pentathlon to the heptathlon so I don't see this as a major issue. Those extra 3 events will hopefully mean less emphasis on the 100mh & LJ which are the events where current female multi events earn the most points. Having the DT and PV will mean 'stronger' and more technically savy women will have their fair chance too.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Powell » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:16 am

Marlow wrote:
polevaultpower wrote:Oh baloney. What heps are training at a facility with no PV pit? What heps are training somewhere where women don't pole vault at all?
I would imagine the numbers are pretty small for both.

Y'know how many smaller HSs don't contest the PV at all because of expense? It's the same with Euro clubs. The bigger ones have PV, the smaller don't. Almost every German town of any appreciable size has a Sport Club with T&F as one of the sports offered. Not a lot of the smaller ones have PV facilities. But I bet many do have heptathletes, nicht wahr?


It would be pretty unusual for a club to have heptathletes, but not decathletes. And if they have multi events for both sexes, they must have PV facilities.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby gh » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:33 am

Gabriella wrote:....
I understand gh's point that there will be a dilemma for the transitional period, but the sport has coped before when we went from the pentathlon to the heptathlon so I don't see this as a major issue. Those extra 3 events will hopefully mean less emphasis on the 100mh & LJ which are the events where current female multi events earn the most points. Having the DT and PV will mean 'stronger' and more technically savy women will have their fair chance too.


This would be nothing like the change from the pentathlon. That merely added the 200 (an event for which "zero" training is required) and the javelin.

This switch would not only add two highly technical events (vault and discus), but also ups the ante on endurance needs with the 800 becoming a 1500. You're making major changes in the skill set.

The path of least resistance (from an elite-elite point of view) would be to make the change in the one year in the quadrennium without a WC/OG. Like this year (obviously just a tad late!), or 2014. One can finish one's hept career in the WC year, struggle through the down year (sorry about that European Champs and Commonwealth aspirants), have virtually two years of training under belt by the next WC and three by the time of the Olympics. That seems a gentle enough curve for me.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:05 am

I have an idea. E-mail info@iaaf.org. On the subject line write "Mr. Lamine Diack: Women's Decathlon in Future World Championships". And in the message box write about having women's decathlon. In my message to Mr. Diack I suggested that it replaces women's heptathlon no earlier than the 2013 World Championships. I also suggested that the IAAF use its influence with the International Olympic Committee to add women's decathlon to the 2016 Olympics and beyond.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Gabriella » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:32 am

gh wrote:This would be nothing like the change from the pentathlon. That merely added the 200 (an event for which "zero" training is required) and the javelin.

This switch would not only add two highly technical events (vault and discus), but also ups the ante on endurance needs with the 800 becoming a 1500. You're making major changes in the skill set.


Well, there is obviously training needed for the 200m, whether it is technical or not, and the javelin is a technical event; so I stand by my original point: it has been done before.

Besides, like I said, young men who go into the multi events have to learn these disciplines. When they go from the octathlon* to the decathlon they have to learn the PV and DT, and the 1000m is nearer 800 than it is 1500m. Thus the octathlon is virtually the same as the heptathlon, yet these young men are expected to transfer their sklill set to this new discipline in one season, so why on earth is it an issue for the elite women to do the same? It's a patronising and sexist argument to suggest they cannot or that it is an issue.

(Octathlon = 100m, LJ, SP, 400m, 110mh, HJ, JT & 1000m)
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby gh » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:26 am

ahhh, but the youngsters moving from the octathlon to the decathlon are precisely that: young.

But what we're talking about here is elite people who are, for a few years at least, trying to make their living by being athletes. A change compromises their ability to make a living at what they currently do well, in exchange for hopes that they might be able to do it well down the road. It's not a simple exchange.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby gh » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:42 am

One other important thing to note: a few years back the IAAF made the decathlon an official WR event, thus opening the door for a switch. But where's the activity at the federation level? Talence has had a dec once or twice, and that's about it for major international competitions. And Missouri has staged a few in the U.S. We're not seeing heptathletes parading in the streets demanding a change.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:51 pm

I think that a women's decathlon would be a better way to find out who is the world's greatest all-around female track and field athlete than the heptathlon. With the 200 meters replaced with 100 meters and 400 meters, the addition of discus and the pole vault, and the 800 meters increased to 1500 meters, the decathlon should better show a female athlete's strength, stamina, endurance, and perseverance.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby bman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:26 pm

The most important thing here that no one is talking about is that there will be different people who are good. You think Jessica Ennis is just going to 'learn the form' in a non major championship year then every thing will be back to normal? I'm sorry to say it because I am a fan of hers but there is no way. So you are basically shaking up the mix of athletes on the elite level, because, I guess, "women can do anything men can do"? Not worth it.

Having said that, there is a tradition among certain organizations to not make decisions with athletes in mind...
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:11 pm

bman wrote:The most important thing here that no one is talking about is that there will be different people who are good. You think Jessica Ennis is just going to 'learn the form' in a non major championship year then every thing will be back to normal? I'm sorry to say it because I am a fan of hers but there is no way. So you are basically shaking up the mix of athletes on the elite level, because, I guess, "women can do anything men can do"? Not worth it.

Having said that, there is a tradition among certain organizations to not make decisions with athletes in mind...

So you are trying to say that because the transition from heptathlon to decathlon will require additional if not different skills the decathlon should not be held at championship and Olympic levels. If having to acquire an additional skill because of a new event added is too disruptive then women should just have stayed with the pentathlon because throwing a javelin was disruptive to those not used to doing it.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby bman » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:02 pm

ralmcg wrote:So you are trying to say that because the transition from heptathlon to decathlon will require additional if not different skills the decathlon should not be held at championship and Olympic levels. If having to acquire an additional skill because of a new event added is too disruptive then women should just have stayed with the pentathlon because throwing a javelin was disruptive to those not used to doing it.


I'm no expert on exactly how the jav changed the event, but it seems to me that adding it would not change the makeup of the athletes who are contenders in the multi on the elite level. If doing so wasn't a concern then they would have added all 5 events at the time.
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