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What is an Icosathlon?

October 1, 2010

Happy Trivia Friday, my friends. I’ve mentioned before that each week at my office, we celebrate trivia Friday. I love trivia Friday because I love to learn and there is no quicker way for me to become interested in something than to ask me a question I don’t know the answer to or can’t explain the logistics of why the answer is what it is. Google gets extra use from my office on Fridays.

Today I learn about the Icosathlon.
According to everyone’s favorite semi-reliable source, Wikipedia, an Icosathlon is an ultra-multi-event competition consisting of twenty events, spanning two days. In the US Track and Field world, this is also known as a double-decathlon.

Rewind. Let’s start here: What’s a decathlon?

The decathlon is a ten event track and field contest. Performance is judged on a points system in each event. The decathlon is usually an all-male competition, while female athletes face the heptathlon. [However, in 2001, Woman’s scoring tables for the decathlon were approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations.] These days the decathlon is typically held over two consecutive days and each day of the decathlon, five events take place.

Day 1 Events:
-100 meters
-long jump
-shot put
-high jump
-400 meters

Day 2 Events:
-110 meter hurdles
-pole vault
-1500 meters

But I didn’t learn this today.
I’m familiar with the decathlon because I’ve been to a handful of college meets in my day, and watched a lot of meets on television. One of my very best friends from high school was on the UW track team, and is a decathlete.


Today I got an email from Joe about life, and dreams, and track.

Today I learned about the Icosathlon, or the double decathlon.

Similar to a decathlon, the double decathlon is usually held over two days, but as the name suggests – twenty events take place over the two days. The first day of the standard Icosathlon includes the 100 meters, long jump, 200 meter hurdles, shot put, 5000 meters, 800 meters, high jump, 400 meters, hammer throw, and the 3000 meter steeplechase. On the second day of the standard Icosathlon, athletes face the 110 meter hurdles, discus throw, 200 meters, pole vault, 3000 meters, 400 meter hurdles, javelin throw, 1500 meters, triple jump and a 10K.

[source]athlete of the week.

Today I learned that Joe has been named USA Track & Field’s

Why is Joe athlete of the week?

Because he’s flipping awesome? Yes.

Because he has a world record? Yes.

Because he set more world records last weekend? yes and yes and yes.

Turns out that Joe had a pretty impressive showing at the 2010 World Championships in Virgina, beating the world record for the most points ever received in a double decathlon by 386 points. This record was made possible by Joe setting two other world records – the best scores ever posted in a double decathlon for both the 100-meter dash and the long jump. To top it off, Joe also set a world record for the highest decathlon score ever posted as part of a double decathlon competition. He racked up an incredible 7,741 points in the 10 traditional decathlon disciplines on Friday and Saturday.

I’m a little proud of my old friend.

Joe is talented. I’ve known that forever. But he is more than talented. Joe is determined in a way I haven’t seen in a whole lot of people.
I yearn for that determination. The drive he has to reach goals, with the intention of being able to set new ones the moment he meets them.
I yearn to be that hungry for success. To push myself past the limits that I’ve allow myself to set. To push down the fences, and climb over the walls.
I want to be more like Joe – record setting, dream catching, Joe. Joe that doesn’t say “can’t” or listen to the nay-sayers.
The icing on the cake is that Joe walks with such humility. He’s never boastful about his performance, but always thankful for his abilities.
I want that. I want all of that.

I plan to talk to Joe about these things. About determination, attitude, drive, and humility. I plan to ask him how he does it. I plan to ask him about challenge. I plan to ask him about discouragement. I plan to ask him what he’s learned.

And once I do, of course, I’ll share it. The world needs more drive, more determination, and more “I can.”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2010 11:40 am

    This is such a sweet post! Congrats to Joe for going above and beyond everything!

  2. October 1, 2010 11:54 am

    Joe is AWESOME. Congratulations, Joe.

  3. October 1, 2010 1:50 pm

    Wow. Awesome event. Awesome guy. Have you seen his arms in person? Are they really that amazing!? Haha, seriously though, I agree with you. The world needs more drive, determination, and positivity. So many of us push through life doing what we think we “Shoul” do. But where is the passion in that. (By the way, I think I am becoming addicted to your blog).

  4. October 1, 2010 8:40 pm

    You’re right, the world does need more of all of that! That being said, you shouldn’t have to say “I want” — you should say “I’m going to have” — and soon, “I have” 🙂

  5. October 2, 2010 10:12 am

    And the words “I can’t” should be elimated from our vocabulary! Your posts are always so inspirational. Thank you.

  6. October 2, 2010 3:19 pm

    What an amazing and inspiring friend!!!!

    I don’t know him at all and I think *I* want to be more like Joe! 😉

    I look forward to reading his responses to your questions.


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