The decathlon is a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field events. The word decathlon is of Greek origin, from (dka, meaning 'ten') and (thlos, or , thlon, meaning 'feat'). Events are held over two consecutive days and the winners are determined by the combined performance in all. Performance is judged on a points system in each event, not by the position achieved. The decathlon is contested mainly by male athletes, while female athletes typically compete in the heptathlon. Traditionally, the title of 'World's Greatest Athlete' has been given to the man who wins the Olympic decathlon. This began when King Gustav V of Sweden told Jim Thorpe, 'You, sir, are the world's greatest athlete' after Thorpe won the decathlon at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912. The current decathlon world record holder is American Ashton Eaton, who scored 9,039 points at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials. The event developed from the ancient pentathlon.
Contributions by Squash Racket, Rich Farmbrough, and Darius Dhlomo.