Women to compete in decathlon?


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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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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Spickard » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:08 pm

I'm all for the transition to women's deca, but here's the reason it probably is opposed by coaches and athletes:

When you are a world-class heptathlete, you are probably also world-class in one or two other events, meaning you can get into events on the Euro circuit and make enough money to support your training effort. As has been implied earlier, a decathlete is more likely to perhaps be unbelievable across all ten but nevertheless not good enough in any one to make it on to the circuit and make enough money to train. It's not just that the current heps and their coaches don't want to move up to deca and it's not that people are sexist. It's that they can all see the writing on the wall in terms of funding. It's a practical problem...we're not football, and money doesn't grow on trees. Brian Clay isn't rich, but he gets along. Hopefully Trey is taking advantage of his success. The rest are in it for the love, exclusively, because there's no money in it. They're reliant on their various support systems and national governing bodies to help out, so they continue to live the same quality of life as a college kid.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby mump boy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:27 am

Spickard wrote:I'm all for the transition to women's deca, but here's the reason it probably is opposed by coaches and athletes:

When you are a world-class heptathlete, you are probably also world-class in one or two other events, meaning you can get into events on the Euro circuit and make enough money to support your training effort. As has been implied earlier, a decathlete is more likely to perhaps be unbelievable across all ten but nevertheless not good enough in any one to make it on to the circuit and make enough money to train. It's not just that the current heps and their coaches don't want to move up to deca and it's not that people are sexist. It's that they can all see the writing on the wall in terms of funding. It's a practical problem...we're not football, and money doesn't grow on trees.


this is so true but stil no excuse

the sexism may not be explicit but it is implicit in the same way that women run substantially less distance on XC races for no apparent reason. there may be no desire from the women themselves to run further but to me that is irrelevant. track is just about the only major sport that has equality of the sexes and to me this is one of it's many strengths
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Gabriella » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:28 am

gh wrote: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.


And a 20-odd yr old heptathlete is not 'young'? They are in their prime, they have the experience of learning technical events and the years of training behind them. They are the ideal age to tackle the supposed more complicated technical events (though IMO the JT, LJ and hurdles are no less complicated or technical than the PV or DT. The PV just has a 'fear factor' element)

As for this argument about making money on the circuit, again I see this argument as weak. Firstly, heptathletes hardly compete internationally other than at multi event meets or in their own country as it is. I see a move to the decathlon as a 'no change'. Secondly a Jess Ennis or Kelly Sotherton will still be invited and paid to compete at a UK meet, because they are the best multi eventers in the UK, regardless of whether they're long jumping 6.7 or 6.3. Lilli Schwarzkopf will still be invited and paid to compete at German meets whether she's throwing the javelin 53m or 46m, becaue she is one of the best German multieventers. Will moving to the decathlon really dent the money Tatyana Chernova makes currently? Where or when does she compete outside Russia and the multi event meets? Will moving to the decathlon dent the money Karin Ruckstuhl makes currently? Where or when does she compete outside the Netherlands and the multi events meets?

The fact is, heptathletes hardly compete in paying meets at all at the moment, and it will be no different if they move to the decathlon. This idea that they will suddenly lose earning power due to increased time spent on learning these complicated technical events is nonsense. They will still have their stronger events, they will still do the occasional meet in their strongest event, whether they incldue an extra 3 hrs a week learning the bl00dy PV or not!
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:10 am

For those who don't like the pole vault in a multi-event competition I suggest that there should be a nine-event competition with the same events except for the pole vault. To make it fair the men shouldn't do the pole vault and reduce their decathlon to a nine-event competition.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby polevaultpower » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:34 am

ralmcg wrote:For those who don't like the pole vault in a multi-event competition I suggest that there should be a nine-event competition with the same events except for the pole vault. To make it fair the men shouldn't do the pole vault and reduce their decathlon to a nine-event competition.



Boo :cry:
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:49 pm

I suspect that in the change from heptathlon to decathlon some female athletes will not like to do the new events, because of not liking the events, not liking to train for the events, etc. But I suspect that some of the heptathletes will relish the opportunity to take on new challenges with the new events and might even be pretty good decathletes. That's my opinion.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:25 pm

As has been said before, the top athletes are generally optimized across the current events. Bringing in other events is likely to aid a subset of other competitors relative to the current set.

To me the strongest argument against changing (mentioned a couple of times above) is the one where these athletes can be competitive in one or two other events and thus get into a number of meets and earn a living, since the multis are done rarely and generally on a different stage except for the few championships.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby mump boy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:27 pm

26mi235 wrote:As has been said before, the top athletes are generally optimized across the current events. Bringing in other events is likely to aid a subset of other competitors relative to the current set.

To me the strongest argument against changing (mentioned a couple of times above) is the one where these athletes can be competitive in one or two other events and thus get into a number of meets and earn a living, since the multis are done rarely and generally on a different stage except for the few championships.


in that case we should change the mens decathlon to a heptathlon so they can make a living or is it ok for male multi eventers to have a tough time finacially

while i understand the objections from current heptathletes for me it's not a practical question but an ethical one and there is no excuse at all for non parity across all events

i am equally in favour of women playing 5 sets in tennis
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:15 pm

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


They'd soon get over the resistance if it was announced that the Deca was being introduced from 2020 onwards. That's long enough away that the current athletes are not forced into at event that they're not ready for but far enough in the future that the new crop have plenty of time to prepare.

Teenage heptathletes now should start learning the PV pronto.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:20 pm

polevaultpower wrote: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.

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.


I agree with the first point but think it should only be for 1 Olympic Cycle. They can't have both event's for a prolonged period.

Your 2nd point is almost certainly correct. I mean do you think the powers that be want Denise, Carro and Jess or Austre Skutje.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:29 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.


Such a good idea!!!
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby gh » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:31 pm

Flumpy wrote:
polevaultpower wrote: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.

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.


I agree with the first point but think it should only be for 1 Olympic Cycle. They can't have both event's for a prolonged period.

Your 2nd point is almost certainly correct. I mean do you think the powers that be want Denise, Carro and Jess or Austre Skutje.


The second point is ludicrous. It's the athletes themselves and their coaches that are the sticking point, not the media or fans.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:47 pm

gh wrote:
Flumpy wrote:
polevaultpower wrote: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.

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.


I agree with the first point but think it should only be for 1 Olympic Cycle. They can't have both event's for a prolonged period.

Your 2nd point is almost certainly correct. I mean do you think the powers that be want Denise, Carro and Jess or Austre Skutje.


The second point is ludicrous. It's the athletes themselves and their coaches that are the sticking point, not the media or fans.


PVP only said it was a fear not a reason for it not happening. It may be ludicrous but I'm sure it's been considered.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Flumpy » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:48 pm

mump boy wrote:
i am equally in favour of women playing 5 sets in tennis


That way all tennis matches could be equally as boring!!!
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby bman » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:40 pm

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


They'd soon get over the resistance if it was announced that the Deca was being introduced from 2020 onwards. That's long enough away that the current athletes are not forced into at event that they're not ready for but far enough in the future that the new crop have plenty of time to prepare.

Teenage heptathletes now should start learning the PV pronto.


Do you really think it would work that smoothly? What planet are you on? We have already gone into the problems with this.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:17 pm

I would like to ask the board these questions. Does the heptathlon test the female athlete's strength, speed, stamina, and perseverance adequately? Does the decathlon test them better? Personally I think the decathlon is the better test since there are more events to test the female athletes and the new events would challenge them in new and different ways especially the pole vault.

Edited to take out a word that means the same thing as stamina because a replier saw it. By the way I got the qualities for a decathlete from a Wikipedia article on the decathlon.
Last edited by ralmcg on Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby bman » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:49 pm

What is the difference between stamina and endurance?
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:57 am

I got an e-mail from Mr. Pierre Weiss, General Secretary of the IAAF, about the women's decathalon. In essence it said that because it took five years from around 2000 to have the first records for the seniors (minimum total of 8000 points) and even more years for the juniors (7700 points), worldwide there are a maximum of ten decathlons for women, and there is no national championships for women's decathlon, the IAAF is not going to add women's decathlon to its World Championship program at this time.

Actually he wrote that because of these reasons "Therefore, we consider that we are very far to able to change the current situation" but I interpreted that the IAAF is not pursuing adding women's decathlon to its championship program, at least right now.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby TrackCEO » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:22 am

ralmcg wrote: and there is no national championships for women's decathlon


USATF Masters T&F has contested a women's dec at its multievents national championships for several years, resulting in the first 10,000-point decathlon:

http://masterstrack.com/2009/08/445/

Image

K E N
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby mump boy » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:58 am

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


They'd soon get over the resistance if it was announced that the Deca was being introduced from 2020 onwards. That's long enough away that the current athletes are not forced into at event that they're not ready for but far enough in the future that the new crop have plenty of time to prepare.

Teenage heptathletes now should start learning the PV pronto.


Do you really think it would work that smoothly? What planet are you on? We have already gone into the problems with this.


who cares if it goes smoothly

the iaaf excuse is nonense why should the momentum come from national assoc the governing body should take the lead
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:05 am

If no national championships at the elite level is one reason for the lack of progress in getting the women's decathlon to be at the world championships then writing to your national governing body might be a good thing to do. E-mail Doug Logan, the CEO of USATF at Doug.Logan@usatf.org if you live in the United States of America.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Gabriella » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:48 am

Write to Diack, write to Logan..I love this guy! :P Most people are too apathetic to do anything, it's great to see someone doing their bit!
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:53 am

First of all thank you Gabriella for your support of writing letters to the USATF and the IAAF about the women's decathlon.

Second, I would like to ask those opposed to a women's decathlon, and especially to female heptathletes, this. Do you really want to send a message to female multi-event participants, both present and future, that they can't pole vault, can't throw a discus, can't run both 100 meters and 400 meters (as opposed to running just 200 meters), and can't run 1500 meters (as opposed to 800 meters)? If not then I suggest e-mailing your national track and field federation and also Mr. Pierre Weiss, the general secretary of the IAAF. HIs e-mail address is pierre@hq.iaaf.org. The more e-mails, and also letters, from athletes and their federations showing an interest in women's decathlon the more likely that it would be recognized as the official combined event for women at the World Championships and perhaps the Olympics.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby bman » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:32 pm

mump boy wrote:who cares if it goes smoothly


My final point I guess is that things are different for all of us sitting back and watching and the athletes who live this.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby lonewolf » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:41 pm

decafan has it right, imo.
There is no optimum time to introduce the women' s decathlon. Athletes will always be coming or going. If change is resisted to prolong the careers of current athletes, future athletes will be interrupted in mid-career when current stars burn out.
Athletes will adapt or not. Some heptathletes will benefit by the change to decathlon. Some won't. Eventually an all-around super star will emerge.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby mump boy » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:52 pm

lonewolf wrote:decafan has it right, imo.
There is no optimum time to introduce the women' s decathlon. Athletes will always be coming or going. If change is resisted to prolong the careers of current athletes, future athletes will be interrupted in mid-career when current stars burn out.
Athletes will adapt or not. Some heptathletes will benefit by the change to decathlon. Some won't. Eventually an all-around super star will emerge.


exactly
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby ralmcg » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:13 am

Indoors the mult-event competitions are the pentathlon (women) and the heptathlon (men). In order for the women to achieve equality of events they need to compete in the 60-meter dash and the pole vault. Also they will increase the distance of the longest race from 800 meters to 1000 meters.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:19 am

ralmcg wrote:Indoors the mult-event competitions are the pentathlon (women) and the heptathlon (men). In order for the women to achieve equality of events they need to compete in the 60-meter dash and the pole vault. Also they will increase the distance of the longest race from 800 meters to 1000 meters.


I think that the 'transition' that some have proposed should start with changing the Pent to the Hept, as it adds only one new event for the multis athletes, and the hardest single step of getting to the decathlon. Several years later the deca can be introduced.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby Powell » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:56 am

26mi235 wrote:I think that the 'transition' that some have proposed should start with changing the Pent to the Hept, as it adds only one new event for the multis athletes, and the hardest single step of getting to the decathlon. Several years later the deca can be introduced.


So you're saying that for a few years female multi-eventers would do the PV indoors, but not out? That just doesn't make sense at all.
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Re: Women to compete in decathlon?

Postby LopenUupunut » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:13 am

Powell wrote:So you're saying that for a few years female multi-eventers would do the PV indoors, but not out? That just doesn't make sense at all.
They currently do javelin outdoors, but not in. Obviously, the reasons for that are quite different, but the result is quite similar and we don't see heaps of people complaining.
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