Decathlon, towards a balanced and sustainable performance assessment method

Wim Westera

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    Current IAAF decathlon scoring tables display unacceptable bias as they favour some events over others. Performances in the sprints benefit disproportionately to those in the throwing events and the 1500m. Moreover, the system is intrinsically unstable and tends to increase the differences between disciplines over the course of time. This paper investigates alternative scoring methods. It elaborates a wellgrounded procedure to express the performance scales of the events in a normalised form in order to allow comparisons. Three alternative scoring models are developed as candidates for replacing the existing model. These are based on 1) a power law description, 2) a parabolic description and 3) an exponential description, respectively.The proposed methods are uniform over the events and support selfstabilisation. They combine practical evidence and sound principles. Calibration to the current model is performed with existing data in order to enable a smooth transition from current practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-51
    Number of pages13
    JournalNew Studies in Athletics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Multi-variable
    • assessment
    • calibration
    • scoring model
    • decathlon


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