Heptathlon is the seven-event track and field race conducted exclusively for women in the Olympics as an equivalent for the men's decathlon. Heptathlon was included into the games for the first time at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Prior to the 1984 Olympics the women's equivalent for the men's decathlon was the exclusive pentathlon event. Women's pentathlon was introduced in the Olympics in 1964 and was contested till the 1980 Olympics. The event was dominated by athletes from the ex-Soviet Union and ex-East Germany, each of which swept the medals in 1980 and 1976 Olympics respectively.
Pentathlon was changed to heptathlon, with the javelin throw and 800m race added from 1984.
- Day 1: 100 metres hurdles. High jump. Shot put. 200 meters.
- Day 2: Long jump. Javelin throw. 800 meter run.
The Olympic record for heptathlon was set by Jackie Joyner-Kersee from the United States during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The 7291 points scored by Jackie still stands after six Olympics as the current world record. She is also the most accomplished athlete in the history of the event winning two gold medals, 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona, and a silver medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
The United States has not had much success in the event after Jackie. Great Britain has won two gold medals and are the current 2012 reigning champions.
- About Track and Field at the Olympics, including the men's decathlon.
- Discontinued track and field multi-events: women's pentathlon (1964 to 1980), triathlon (1904)
- Are decathletes the best athletes in the world?
- More information about the sport of Athletics.
- Running events were part of the ancient Olympic Games, as was javelin, discus and jumping events as part of the pentathlon.
- List of Olympic Sports