Boring People Make Decathlon Boring: Daley Thompson

Posted on 14 October 2005 - 14:55

The decathlon event is in danger of losing support due to the “boring” athletes taking part, two-time Olympic gold medalist Daley Thompson said Friday.
“Most people doing the decathlon these days are quite boring, so people don’t relate to them,” said Thompson, the most famous decathlete of recent times.

“Decathlon is very exciting, it’s a test of strength and endurance,” added the former English athlete, who is in India to endorse Sunday’s Delhi Half-Marathon.

Thompson said while decathlon was a fantastic sport of skill, people were only attracted to interesting characters.

“People should either like you, or they should dislike you. But if you are not interesting enough, then boredom forces them to lose interest in decathlon,” he said.

Thompson contested his first Olympic decathlon in 1976 at age 18 and won his first gold medal four years later at the Moscow Games.

He defended his Olympic title in 1984 at Los Angeles before competing in his final Games at Seoul in 1988.

Thompson’s Olympic record of 8 847 points stood for two decades until it was surpassed at Athens in 2004 by the Czech Republic’s Roman Sebrle, who logged 8 893 points over the grueling two-day event.

The Delhi half-marathon is the richest event over the distance with a prize money of $150 000.

I agree, if you compare with the crowd’s reaction during the Klüft vs Barber classics, men’s decathlon seems to bore people, or at least doesn’t receive much attention. The event in itself is not boring, that’s a question of personnality. People like Sebrle are good-looking guys, but not very communicative…

Is it the people in the event, or the people covering the event? I heard that there is technology where you can edit boring stuff out of a film and put only interesting stuff back to back. You can even add theme music…at least that is what I heard.

Then, why Heptathlon receives more attention than Decathlon (an other example of this is the number of topics on IAAF board during the WCh for examples).

Klüft and Barber not only compete, they have also worked the way they reply (or not reply) to the media, how to show (or not show) themselves on TV or on the stadium/crowds, and see their Heptathlon as sport competition of course, but also in a less extent as an actor performance. Klüft learns some words/sentences in each country she competes in because she has understood that these details are greately appreciated by media/fans and Eunice takes theatre courses…

Bruce Jenner, Daley Thompson and his very communicative t-shirts or Dan O’Brien were among the most popular athletes of their area. Some other WR holders or Olympic Champions don’t have the same charism.

And the American decathletes, for example, at the moment (Clay and Pappas, I think) are not the most exciting athletes in that respect; they “just” do their job. Plus, the fact that many good decathletes are from countries of the “Eastern Block” (e.g., Chech Rep., Russia, etc) doesn’t help media/fans attraction, which is rather a shame really for such a decipline and the athletes themselves…
We need more Erki Nools apparently! :slight_smile: