Results detail O’Connor’s historic 10,234-point decathlon

Complete results are in from Shoreline, Washington, and the USATF National Masters Combined Events Championships. And if Nadine O’Connor’s otherworldly score of 10,234 points doesn’t impress you, maybe her marks will. Keep in mind she’s 67. She ran the 100 in 14.70 (into a slight wind), threw the discus 21.73 (71-3 1/2), long-jumped 4.23 (13-10 1/2), put the shot 7.87 (25-10), high-jumped 1.27 (4-2), ran the 400 in 79.28,  ran the 80-meter hurdles in 14.80 into a wind, pole-vaulted 3.05 (10-0), threw the javelin 18.15 (59-6 3/4) and ran the 1500 in 7:35.18 — not necessarily in that order. If Nadine had competed at Lahti worlds, she would have gotten gold in the vault, silvers in the high jump and long jump and bronze in the hurdles (and maybe silver, since Lahti had an aiding wind). In the W55 age group, fresh-from-Lahti hep WR-setter Rita Hanscom set another record with 8899 in the Shoreline dec.

Rita Hanscom (USA top) and Nadine O’Connor were top women at deca meet.

Now the news: Nadine’s score — established by converting her marks into comparable “open” marks using the Age-Graded Tables and then plugging the converted marks into the IAAF decathlon scoring tables — may very well come down next year when World Masters Athletics rolls out its new Age-Graded Tables.

WMA doesn’t list women’s decathlon records, but all previous combined events records — including the hep and throws pentathlon — will have to be re-scored, I’m told.

At the Lahti General Assembly on August 5, delegates adopted a new set of factors — ones based on a new philosophy of age-grading. Instead of basing the tables exclusively on world masters age-group records, the tables will now be based on the top dozen or so marks, averaged out somehow. (I don’t have my notes with me, so don’t quote me on this.)

But this I’m sure of: Outliers — fanstastic records far ahead of the age-group curve — will no longer skew the Age-Graded Tables and allow for extremes of age-grading. For example, Nadine’s 3.05 vault is worth 1,963 points.

I’m hoping to learn soon what Nadine’s marks generate on the new Age-Graded Tables, which Germany tested this past season.

Stay tuned.


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August 19, 2009

16 Responses

  1. Daphne Sluys - August 19, 2009

    if WMA does not list women’s decathlon records, who is the keeper of these particular records? Does WMA keep them but simply not publish them?
    I wonder if WMA realises how silly they look by failing to acknowledge Nadine’s and Rita’s decathlon performances. Some day the organization will catch up to its athletes, perhaps!

  2. Nadine O'Connor - August 19, 2009

    Thanks, Ken, for the detailed and very kind article and many thanks to others for the thoughtful emails and congrats. I hope your story encourages others to try this challenging, yet rewarding event.
    The biggest thanks should go to the many officials and volunteers who made it all possible. Daunte Gauge was a man with many tasks, from sweeping the runways to fluffing up to long jump pit to manning the computers and running with the current point totals to each competitor. All officials were encouraging, yet professional.
    And, to my deca lady friends, thank you for making this all so much fun. It never felt like a competition, but more like a team event where we were all encouraging and trying to help each other do better. I also liked the fact that there were so many ages competing together. The young girls showed us all what speed really is. They will continue to improve and hopefully enjoy the sport. It will be fun to watch them in the future.
    Another facet of the decathlon which makes it more fun is that if one messes up in one event, there is always the next one. In my case, I did much worse in some events than I expected, but then surprised myself in others. I am proudest of my pole vault efforts as it is very hard for me to vault when I am tired and the lower the bar it seems the worse I do. I had to start low to get some points and barely cleared on my third attempt. Somehow I managed to find some energy, but was completely drained afterwards. Maybe what kept me going was the thought that if I didn’t get a good height, I might actually have had to run hard in the 400 and 1500……
    All of the competitors were amazing and will continue to improve. But, I want to especially note Rita’s performance. It is much harder for the younger athletes to get high scores and her 8999 was a superb effort, made even more noteworthy after returning from Lahti and her great performances there. For a non-distance runner to gut out a 6 minute 1500 is impressive.
    Nadine, who wants to learn how to throw the javelin. Anyone know a good coach?

  3. Grant Lamothe - August 19, 2009

    I’d like to repeat Nadine’s comments on what a well-run meet it was. Kudos to Daunte Gouge and helpers and officials for making it such a good meet. Printed point total updates after almost every event -awesome.
    I feel Nadines comments about the lady decathletes ” ..(it felt) more like a team event where we were all encouraging and trying to help each other do better..” applies to the men as well. I’d like to thank my competitors for the help and encouragement they gave me, which certainly helped my performance overall. A really great thing about doing decathlon is that you spend 2 days with your competitors, with all the comaraderie that would entail.
    On a last note, I nominate Nadine and Rita as Co-Masters Athlete of the Year.
    Grant Lamothe M65

  4. Stefan Waltermann - August 19, 2009

    Daphne, I believe we cannot fault the WMA in this. It is our dear governing body IAAF (those are the folks currently running the world championship in Berlin)that does not recognize the decathlon as a competition for female athletes. Of course, this is ridiculous. After certifying the pole vault for women, there was nothing that would have prevented the IAAF from starting the W decathlon. There are many discussions about this. I believe that rather sooner than later the IAAF will have a plan, maybe starting at the junior level or making it an unofficial event for a short period of time (like the W triple jump). Naturally, the WMA would follow right away and make it an official event. The athletes certainly are ready to get going. Also, as it was done already by WMA for senior athletes with the new scoring system, IAAF should look at the scoring tables for the W hepthathon/decathlon. Nearly all experts believe it to be unbalanced.

  5. Grant Lamothe - August 19, 2009

    3 years ago I did an online webpage describing the 2006 USA Masters Decathlon/Heptathlon, which took place at the same facility as this year’s.
    It indicates some of the fun of participating in a decathlon, as well as showing a comparison of how Nadine and Rita did in their first decathlon then, to how even better they did at this year’s meet.
    The webpage is still out there in cyberspace. If interested, check it out at

  6. Weia Reinboud - August 19, 2009

    The decathlon is an official IAAF event, but hardly any woman tries it. There are no big meets for it, no championships…
    Nadine, my javelin coach is very good, but alas a bit far away. I went from 22 meters as W55 to nearly 35 as W58. This year the improvement is yet to come :-(

  7. Stefan Waltermann - August 19, 2009

    Weia, I stand corrected. IAAF rule 200 mentions the decathlon for women as well. So, it is an official event that is officially ignored. Why don’t they switch to the decathlon at the IAAF championships and at the Olympic Games?

  8. Weia Reinboud - August 19, 2009

    I fear most heptathletes are not willing to switch. I asked a few of them, Olympians, and it was a definite ‘no’.

  9. Ken Stone - August 19, 2009

    Stefan Waltermann has done a Herculean job in applying the 2010 Age-Graded Table factors to Nadine’s marks. He writes:
    This is the situation for her in the Model 2010 W 65: 8889 points (Model 2010 scoring for all events but the 1500 m. I used the ‘open formula’ and the 800 multipliers = 567points.) Taking the 764 points from the old scoring system for the 1500 would get her to 9,086 points…
    Well, now it fits a bit more into the mold and the intend of the Model 2010. Victor Trkal & Bernd Rehpennig will be proud. Nadine O’Connor is truly a remarkable women and a world class athlete, that much is sure. But the new scoring system holds up and shows her to be within the point range of the elite athletes in the IAAF events.

  10. David E. Ortman (M56) Seattle, WA - August 20, 2009

    Three years ago in 2006, screw-ups with wind gauge reporting in the M50 National Masters Decathlon (Multi-events) Championships at King’s High School in Shoreline, WA cost Bill Murray an American Record.
    This year they again appear to have had multiple failures (NWI) “no wind information” in the wind gauge system as shown below. Fortunately, this did not appear to happen to Nadine O’Connor!!
    When a national masters meet twice can not handle the basics of providing accurate measurements, they should be barred from further championships bids. And they should refund your entry fee!! And entry fee refunds should be provided for FAT timing failures at masters outdoor/indoor championships, as well.
    2009 National Masters Decathlon – Shoreline, WA
    Event 3 Decathlon: #1 W45 100 Meter Dash Decathlon
    Name Age Team Finals Wind Points
    1 Sluys, Daphne W49 Club NW 13.91 NWI 850
    2 Murfitt, Anne W49 Peninsula TC 18.01 NWI 299
    Event 11 M50 100 Meter Dash Decathlon
    Name Age Team Finals Wind H# Points
    1 Ellis, Ken M51 Unattached 13.14 NWI 2 707
    2 Demetrio, Ted M53 Unattached 13.53 NWI 2 637
    3 Watry, Jeffrey M54 Midwest Master’s 13.91 -0.7 1 573
    4 Kern, Jack M50 Unattached 14.09 NWI 2 543
    5 Durkee, Doyle M50 Unattached 14.29 -0.7 1 511
    6 Overstake, Grant M52 Deca MidWest 14.47 -0.7 1 483
    7 Kruszona, Kevin M51 Hawaii Masters 14.76 NWI 2 439
    8 Claesson, Jan M53 Unattached 14.79 NWI 2 436
    9 Hodson, Greg M52 Unattached 15.73 NWI 2 308
    Event 17 M30 100 Meter Dash Decathlon
    Name Age Team Finals Wind Points
    1 Norman, Chad M34 Unattached 13.02 NWI 464
    Event 1 Decathlon: #1 W16-18 100 Meter Dash Decathlon
    Name Age Team Finals Wind Points
    1 Moore, Irene W18 Club NW 13.73 NWI 693
    2 Hawkins, Julia W16 West Vancouver 14.63 NWI 589
    Event 1 Decathlon: #6 W16-18 100 Short Hurdles Decathlon
    Name Age Team Finals Wind Points
    1 Moore, Irene W18 Club NW 17.38 NWI 651
    2 Hawkins, Julia W16 West Vancouver 21.74 NWI 319
    Event 3 Decathlon: #1 W45 100 Meter Dash Decathlon
    Name Age Team Finals Wind Points
    1 Sluys, Daphne W49 Club NW 13.91 NWI 850
    2 Murfitt, Anne W49 Peninsula TC 18.01 NWI 299
    2006 National Masters Decathlon – Shoreline, WA
    M50 Decathlon Points 100 LJ SP HJ 400 Day1 110H DT PV JT 1500 ——————————————————————————————————————————– 1 Murray, Bill 12.88 5.67m 12.31m 1.71m 1:00.80 16.48 38.65m 3.80m 42.64m 5:55.17 Birmingham Track Club NWI NWI 40-04.75 5-07.25 w: -0.8 126-10 12-05.5 139-11 Age-Graded Mark: 11.49 7.11m 14.11m 2.09m 53.01 16.06 38.65m 4.80m 54.53m 5:03.57 Age-Graded Percent: 85.25% 79.52% 61.06% 85.5% 81.46% 80.4% 52.17% 78.19% 55.38% 67.86% M52 Team Points: 10 7305 (755) (840) (735) (887) (681) 3898 (726) (637) (849) (656) (539) ————————————————————————————————— 2 Ortman, David 12.61 5.78m 9.52m 1.65m 57.17 17.59 24.59m 2.70m 33.42m 5:28.43 Unattached w: -2.2 NWI 31-03 5-05 w: -0.8 80-08 8-10.25 109-08 Age-Graded Mark: 11.25 7.25m 10.91m 2.02m 49.85 17.15 24.59m 3.41m 42.74m 4:40.71 Age-Graded Percent: 87.07% 81.07% 47.22% 82.5% 86.64% 75.33% 33.19% 55.56% 43.4% 73.39% M53 Team Points: 8 6449 (806) (874) (540) (822) (822) 3864 (609) (359) (459) (482) (676) ————————————————————————————————— 3 Watry, Jeffrey 13.65 4.75m 11.74m 1.59m 1:03.68 17.71 33.83m 3.40m 39.92m 5:39.38 Midwest Masters Track Club NWI NWI 38-06.25 5-02.5 w: -0.8 111-00 11-01.75 131-00 Age-Graded Mark: 12.18 5.96m 13.46m 1.94m 55.52 17.26 33.83m 4.29m 51.05m 4:50.07 Age-Graded Percent: 80.44% 66.62% 58.23% 79.5% 77.78% 74.82% 45.67% 69.96% 51.84% 71.02% M51 Team Points: 6 6274 (616) (578) (695) (749) (578) 3216 (597) (540) (699) (604) (618) —————————————————————————————————

  11. daphne sluys - August 20, 2009

    Strange: Nadine and I were in the exact same 100m race – same heat, so if Nadine has wind info then my result should have too. Perhaps there was an entry error? I know the 100m results were corrected once at the track – may be that was when the wind info got lost?
    Thanks for pointing this out!

  12. Susan Wiemer - August 23, 2009

    There actually was wind info for all the events. Some kind of glitch happened when they were printing the score sheets. I know because I was able to go back after the meet and get every single reading. I thought the officials were excellent, willing to go above and beyond, and friendly besides. If Bill Murray was denied his record because of someone else’s mistake, that is terribly unfair and should be corrected, but does not reflect on this year’s meet. (Bill Murray, by the way, did a tremendous job orchistrating the combined event nationals in 2007 in Alabama. I had a great time.)

  13. daphne sluys - August 24, 2009

    By the time I queried the results, Duante had already found and corrected the data errors with USATF – just not updated the results site.
    Thanks for the speedy work with all that data Duante.

  14. Daunte Gouge - August 24, 2009

    In response to Ortman;s rants the problem with Wind was not on the behalf of our staff. We sent in all the proper paper work with wind reading s to the USATF. It was people at USATF that costed Bill not us.

  15. David E. Ortman (M56) Seattle, WA - August 24, 2009

    It is not a rant to expect that all outdoor national masters championship results be posted with all required wind gauge readings.
    As of Monday August 24, the results posted on the 2009 National Masters “Combined-Events” Championships website still lists all the NWIs noted above. The 2006 results on the webpage have never been “corrected.”

  16. Dr. Willems - December 23, 2009

    This decathlon performance of Nadine, one of the best Masters’ performers offers an extraordinary chance for evaluation and comparison with senior athletes whether men or women. She takes not only the 4th place in an over-all all-time Decathlon classification, she also realised the best over-all athletics performance ever: age 67, pole vault 3m05: 65 cm better than the second-best, 1616 points, real value 5m14! Verify all this on
    historic 10234-point decathlon
    O’Connor Nadine ( 67 )
    100 flat 14.70/ 967pts
    Long Jump 4.23/ 1039
    Shot 7.87/ 541
    High jump 1.27/ 992
    400 flat 79.28/ 785
    80m Hdls 14.80/ 868
    Discus 21.73/ 476
    Pole Vault 3.05/ 1616
    Javelin 18.15/ 376
    1500 7:35.18/ 630
    TOTAL 8290pts
    100 flat 10.64/ 900pts
    Long Jump 8.11 /1114
    Shot 15.33/ 699
    High jump 2.12 /841
    400 flat 47.79 /886
    110m Hdls 13.92/ 1003
    Discus 47.92/ 689
    Pole Vault 4.80/ 746
    Javelin 70.16 /853
    1500 4:21.98/ 680
    TOTAL 8411pts
    100 flat 10.54 933
    Long Jump 7.90 1028
    Shot 16.78 808
    High jump 2.04 750
    400 flat 48.08 872
    110m Hdls 13.73 1066
    Discus 48.33 699
    Pole Vault 4.90 781
    Javelin 72.32 895
    1500 4:37.20 614
    TOTAL 8446pts
    100 flat 10.43 980
    Long Jump 8.08 1101
    Shot 16.69 801
    High jump 2.07 783
    400 flat 48.51 853
    110m Hdls 13.98 988
    Discus 48.56 704
    Pole Vault 5.00 818
    Javelin 62.58 711
    1500 4:48.10 573
    TOTAL 8312pts
    100 flat 10.44 975
    Long Jump 8.01 1073
    Shot 15.72 728
    High jump 2.03 740
    400 flat 46.97 930
    110m Hdls 14.33 918
    Discus 46.56 657
    Pole Vault 5.00 818
    Javelin 65.24 779
    1500 4:35.00 623
    TOTAL 8241pts

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