A non-runner’s guide to the heptathlon and the decathlon

Canada’s best shot at Olympic gold arguably comes in the combined events: the decathlon and the heptathlon. The combined events are the more complicated disciplines in the sport of athletics. Here’s a guide to breakdown the two events with a Canadian focus:

Both the heptathlon (seven events) and decathlon (10 events) span two days and each discipline is scored individually with points going towards an overall cumulative score. Final placings are based on the final score.

The decathlon and heptathlon are known as combined events because both running, jumping and throwing disciplines are involved. The wide range of events means athletes must train in a much different way than one who is specializing in one discipline.

Both of the combined events are spaced out with varying amounts of time between competition. During the downtime between events, athletes rest and refuel. A running event always begins and ends the decathlon and heptathlon. The scene after a decathlon and heptathlon is usually exhausted athletes sprawled out onto the track.


Canada’s contender: Brianne Theisen-Eaton.

Day 1 – Aug. 12 (all times EDT)

100m hurdles – 8:35 a.m.
High jump – 9:50 a.m.
Shot put – 7:35 p.m.
200m – 9:05 p.m.

Day 2 – Aug. 13 (all times EDT)

Long jump – 10:45 a.m.
Javelin – 8:15 p.m.
800m – 9:50 p.m.

Theisen-Eaton is ranked first based off performances from 2016 heading into the Olympic Games. She will be the first Canadian to take the track for her event. The 27-year-old Humboldt, Sask. native is the Canadian record holder and won silver at the 2015 world championships. The Canadian is a good bet to reach the podium and possibly win gold.


Canada’s contender: Damian Warner.

Day 1 – Aug. 17 (all times EDT)

100m – 8:30 a.m.
Long jump – 9:35 a.m.
Shot put – 11:15 a.m.
High jump – 4:45 p.m.
400m – 8:20 p.m.

Day 2 – Aug. 18 (all times EDT)

110m hurdles – 8:30 a.m.
Discus – 9:25 or 10:40 a.m. (two different groups)
Pole vault – 12:25 p.m.
Javelin – 5:35 or 6:45 p.m. (two different groups)
1,500m – 8:45 p.m.

Warner is the Canadian record holder in the event and is an extremely good sprinter. His best events include the 100m and 110m hurdles. The 26-year-old London, Ont. native won silver at the world championships last year and will be in tough against world record holder and American Ashton Eaton. Ashton and Brianne are married after both attended the University of Oregon where they met.

What the heck are the non-running events all about?

High jump: A vertical jump over a horizontal bar and land on a mat.
Long jump: A horizontal jump into a sand pit.
Shot put: A throw where athletes “push” the weighted ball from their shoulders into a landing area.
Javelin: A throw where athletes launch a spear into a landing area.
Discus (decathlon only): A throw where athletes spin a weighted frisbee-like object and toss into a landing area.
Pole vault (decathlon only): A vertical jump where athletes use a pole to “vault” themselves over a horizontal bar and on to a mat.




Leave A Comment