Adam Sebastian Helcelet: International Man of History

“When I was a kid,” Adam Sebastian Helcelet recalls, “Czech Republic had the greatest decathletes in the world. I watched them with my father. He said ‘You are coordinated. You can feel your body, and I guess that you’re going to be a big guy. You should try it.’” He did. His story would quickly…

Carolin Schäfer: What If?

Changing coach in the run up to the Olympics. Trying out a new technique and waiting out the critics. Deciding to forgo a World Championships place and playing the long game. Carolin Schafer has made a number of big decisions in the last year. All of them brought risk, questions and a test of faith. …

Vanessa Chefer: The First Girl, on the First Day

On the first day of the first competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the heptathlon was the first event. The first discipline was the 100m hurdles, and the first girl, in the first lane was Brazil’s own Vanessa Chefer. Four years later, and 25 years after she first told her mother that she wanted…

Garrett Scantling: Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

After finishing fourth at the 2016 US Olympic trials, Garrett Scantling disappeared from decathlon. But he streaked back into the world of multi-events earlier this year, with one of the best global heptathlon marks of the indoor season. Faster than a speeding bullet, he tried his hand at NFL. He then channelled his inner Clark…

Darko Pešić: Combined Events and Cannonballs

The world has been plunged into chaos by the spread of coronavirus. Meetings are cancelled. The Olympics have been postponed for a year. Entire countries are in lockdown for the foreseeable future. But few athletes are better equipped to cope with the need to be self-sufficient than Montenegro’s finest, Darko Pešić.   Growing up in…

Where’s Johannes Erm??

As previews were written, predictions penned and entry lists confirmed in the run up to the World Championships in Doha in October, my inbox was full of messages containing one question. “But where’s Johannes Erm??” Where was Erm? The 21-year-old is by no means a new name to decathlon fans. The huge level of interest…

Janek Õiglane: Achieving Things the Hard Way

This article first appeared on the World Athletics website in November 2019 Two years ago, behind the medal-winning trio of Kevin Mayer, Rico Freimuth and Kai Kazmirek at the World Championships decathlon in London, a breakthrough was happening. The 23-year old Estonian Janek Õiglane was having the performance of his career, finishing fourth in a…

Jordan Gray. Dedicated. Determined. Decathlete.

“Stop. You’re ruining this for me!” Jordan Gray is excited as she unpacks her Team USA kit ahead of the 26th edition of the Thorpe Cup, the annual combined events competition between Germany and the USA. It’s Jordan’s first time representing the United States, and her first competition outwith North America. “It was something I…

Sophie Weissenberg: “Now I Know I Can Do It”

As September dawns and we head into the last few weeks of the 2019 season, Sophie Weissenberg is preparing to embark on her first year of psychology studies.  Instead of enjoying a long hot summer of relaxation, Sophie has had a rather more productive few months.   She has the twelfth best heptathlon score in the…