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Determinants of success in the Olympic Decathlon

Kenny, I.C., Sprevak, D., Sharp, C., & Boreham, C. (2005). Determinants of success in the Olympic Decathlon. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports 1

In a recent communication, Van Damme et al (1) presented a statistical analysis of the performance of world-ranked decathletes, and made inferences about the ability of these athletes to respond uniformly to the demands of the ten events in the decathlon. Their argument was based on an interpretation of the negative correlation in a sample of 600 world-ranked decathletes between the best performance in an event and the overall performance. They used the principle of allocation (2) to argue that excellence in one task may only be attained at the expense of average performance in all other tasks. The researchers present here a complementary view. They considered the 92 decathletes who competed in the last five Olympic games. For this elite sub-sample they found an opposite result to that of Van Damme et al (1): to compete successfully at this level, a uniform, relatively high performance in all individual disciplines is required. 



Determinants of success in the Olympic Decathlon : some statistical evidence

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Ian Christopher Kenny
Dan Sprevak
Craig Sharp
Colin Boreham

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Olympische Spelen