Heptathlon Events

26th January 2020
As the name suggests, there are seven heptathlon events and they are a combination of various disciplines for women athletes in the Olympic Games.

Just as the name suggests, there are seven heptathlon events. At the Olympics or other international competitions, only women participate in these events. Let’s learn more about them in our post today!

Outdoor heptathlon events

Heptathlon competitions span over two consecutive days and all of the participants must participate in all seven events. The sport was officially created in 1980 but its origins date back to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

World Athletics (formally IAAF) also includes the event in its World Championships. The events are the following:

1. 100-meter hurdles

In this event, the competitors have to jump the metal and wooden hurdles that are set up over a 100-meter long race track. A 100-meter hurdle is a female event (the male version is 110 meters).

The hurdles stand 84 centimeters tall and the first one waits 13 meters away from the starting line. Meanwhile, the remaining nine hurdles are distributed evenly at a distance of 8.5 meters between each other. After the last hurdle, there’s a final 10.5-meter tram until the finish line.

heptathlon 100m hurdle

The first-ever 100-meter hurdle event took place in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. It replaced the original 80-meter event, which had taken place ever since the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

2. High jump: heptathlon

In the high jump, athletes aim to jump over a horizontal bar. The bar moves higher and higher between two slats that are spaced four meters apart. If the athletes successfully jump over the bar, they can continue to try the 3, 4, 5 and 6-centimeter increments. During their jump, they can’t knock over the bar.

The women’s high jump first debuted as an Olympic test event in 1928 Amsterdam. Currently, the world record stands at Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova’s 1987 jump, 2.09 meters.

3. Shot put

The shot put is the next heptathlon event on our list. It consists of throwing a steel ball as far as possible. The ball weighs four kilograms in female competitions.

Soviet Natalia Lisovskaya currently holds the world record for women. She secured the record in 1987 by throwing the shot 22.63 meters. The best Olympic score, however, belongs to German Ilona Slupianek, who threw it 22.41 meters in the 1980 Moscow Games.

heptathlon shotput
Image: alo.com.co

Adding on, German Ruth Lange and Grete Heublein, along with Soviet Galina Zybina, Tamara Press and Nadezhda Chizhova were also notable throwers of their time.

4. 200-meter sprint: heptathlon

The 200-meter sprint is the last event of the first day. The race starts on the curve of the track, which means the participants don’t start in a straight line.

Just how the Jamaican, Usain Bolt holds all of the male sprinting records, one single athlete holds all the female records: US, Florence Griffith Joyner. Joyner finished the events in the Seoul Games and in the World Championships that same year in just 21.34 seconds.

Other incredible athletes include Marion Jones (US), Dafne Schippers (Dutch) and Marlene Ottey and Elaine Thompson (Jamaica).

Heptathlon events: the second day

The remaining three outdoor heptathlon events take place on the second day of competition:

5. Long jump

Long jump– as shown in the featured image– consists jumping after a running start. After running a certain distance, athletes jump from the marked line and land in the sand, marking their distance.

The women’s long jump has taken place since the 1948 Olympic Games while the men’s event dates back all the way to ancient times. Currently, Soviet, Galina Chistiakova holds the women’s world record (7.52 meters in 1988 Seoul) while the US, Jackie Joyner-Kersee holds the Olympic record (7.40 meters in the same year).

6. Javelin throw:

The second event on the second day consists of throwing a javelin, a spear-like object– as far as possible.

While men have been competing in this event at the Olympics since the 1908 London Games, women started more recently in the 1932 Los Angeles Games. The world championships, for both men and women, have taken place in Helsinki since 1983.

hepathlon javelin

The world record currently belongs to Czech Barbora Spotakova (72.28 meters in 2008; she also has a gold medal from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games). Meanwhile, the Olympic record belongs to Cuban Osleidys Menéndez (71.53 meters 2004 Athens).

7. 800-meter run

The last event for the women’s heptathlon is the 800m runThe race has taken place since 1928 Amsterdam.

The best records in this difficult event belong to the Czech, Jarmila Kratochvilona (world record 1:53:28 in 1938) and Soviet, Nadezhda Olizarenko (Olympic record 1:53:43 in 1990 Moscow).

Lastly, we want to highlight the athletes that have championed the heptathlon the most amount of times. German, Ramona Neubert, US, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Swede, Carolina Kluft, Belgian, Nafissatou Thiam, and British, Jessica Ennis. Try this incredibly demanding sport for yourself!

  • Gavilanes, P. El heptatlón conjuga la fuerza física y lo mental. Octubre de 2019. El comercio https://www.elcomercio.com/deportes/heptatlon-conjuga-fuerza-fisica-mental.html
  • Garcia León, J. Yorgelis Rodríguez: heptatlón más alto. Mayo de 2018. Trabajadores de Cuba. http://www.trabajadores.cu/20180527/yorgelis-rodriguez-heptalon-mas-alto/