Multiple-Sport Olympic Events, By Peter Kuperman

In the world of sports, multidisciplinary events such as the decathlon and triathlon have long stood as some of the most challenging tests of athleticism and endurance. Indeed, the winner of the Olympic decathlon event earns the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete,” a tradition established in 1912 to honor the accomplishments of the legendary Jim Thorpe. Since then, multidisciplinary events have skyrocketed in popularity, recruiting legions of devoted participants and spawning a large number of spinoff events. The following provides a quick look at some of the most popular multi-sport events and their places in the modern sports landscape.

Decathlon: By far the most widely recognized multidisciplinary sport in the Olympics, the decathlon consists of 10 events: the 100 meters, 400 meters, 1500 meters, 110 meters hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump, discus throw, pole vault, and javelin throw. The decathlon takes place over two days, each of which features two track events and three field events. A lesser-known variant of the decathlon is the icosathlon, which includes 20 events instead of 10.

Triathlon: In recent years, no multidisciplinary sport has captured the competitive spirit of people across the world more than the triathlon. More an endurance test than an assessment of overall athletic ability, the triathlon features a swimming leg, a cycling leg, and a running leg. One of the most recognized triathlon distances is the Ironman Triathlon, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bicycle leg and a full marathon of 26.2 miles. Popular triathlon events include the annual Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, the Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco, and the Enduroman Arch to Arc, a grueling 289-mile course that stretches from the Marble Arch in London to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Chessboxing: One of the more recent additions to the multidisciplinary sport catalogue, chessboxing requires participants to engage in a boxing match and a chess match in alternating rounds. To win the contest, a competitor must achieve a knockout, a checkmate, a favorable judges’ decision, or cause their opponent to exceed his 12 minutes of chess time. In addition to possessing a high level of boxing ability, chessboxer must also qualify as Class A or better in chess. Tihomir Atanassov Dovramadjiev, the reigning European champion, has an Elo rating of over 2300, placing him just below the rank of International Master.

About the Author

Peter Kuperman is a dedicated multi-sport competitor and former track and field athlete with the Nike Farm Team. During his time with the Nike Farm Team, Kuperman excelled in long distance running and became an accomplished marathoner.