The many layers of decathlon have through time been in focus. The physical, the mental and the spiritual are three things that are often talked about. Previously Reinis has been writing about science and art. One aspect of science is statistics, and all friends of decathlon should love statistics. Based on statistics we have forecasts and based on statistics the event becomes even more interesting because we can expect athletes to rise and fall during the competition.
One basic statistical feature is the correlation. Here correlations have been studied between the events and between the events and the final score. The target group has been all decathletes that have scored over 8500 points starting from Bruce Jenner in 1976 to Maicel Uibo in 2018 who made this milestone as the 60th man in history. Due to extreme career development two of the decathletes, Dean Macey and Frank Busemann, have not been included in this study. Data has been gathered by hand from decathlon2000.com and tilastopaja.eu.
Here we want to study the best decathletes and what features that may be the reason they have been able to score such high points and what differs from the series with not so high score. The scores have been divided into three groups based on the final score where the correlation coefficients have been calculated into three different tables.
Four events (100m, long jump and 110mH) stands out with improving correlation coefficients as the score increases, which might tell us that speed is an important feature as well as mastering the technical demands to be able to turn speed into distance in the long jump. The 400m also holds a strong correlation in all groups but doesn't change after going above 8500 points. One reason for this could be that even though the 400m is strongly based on speed it doesn't give so much extra points after a certain level that it would be valuable enough to improve it after that. The strongest correlations between single events are found between 100m and 110m hurdles, 100m and 400m and shot put and discus. The technically demanding pole vault doesn’t seem to hold any clear correlation to any other event
The discus and the 1500m are events with decreasing correlation coefficients as we go towards higher scores with close to no correlation for series over 8500 points. The high jump also decreases significantly. This could be explained by the way the high jump holds a negative correlation to the sprints.
These numbers are of course no absolute truth, but the importance of developing a great speed seems like one of the key ingredients. Another interesting thing is that even though decathletes are often divided into strong jumpers, runners and throwers the jumping events doesn’t seem to hold any clear correlation to each other.