What are some historical facts about decathlon

The dilemma of counting medals forever

Busemann's Olympic column

by Frank Busemann

The same numbers game every four years before the Olympic Games: How many medals should it be nice for the German team? In 2012 in London there were 44, in Rio the German team is hoping for 42 to 70 precious metals. The ARD columnist and former decathlete Frank Busemann has a very simple piece of advice: How about "hold the ball flat" ?!

Well, what do we want now? 44 medals? Or 70? Maybe something in between? Now it starts again with the tally sheets and the country ranking. The athletes have to fix it. They should be clean. And sincere. That's all that matters, you hear from the DOSB.

According to the "Bild" newspaper, Fabian Hambüchen pisses off medal counting. Claudia Rath says why should the tenth best place be much worse than the third best? She is right. Whether there are 7,350,924,867 or 7,350,924,874 people behind you is marginal difference. Supradupramarginal. But that's what sport is all about.

All participants are the best in their field

If we're being completely honest, not a single athlete cares about their nation's overall results. What for? Because the free beer for weightlifters is twice as tasty as for gymnasts? It is a statistical functionary variable and the attempt of the competitive society to want to depict strength or weakness. On a subordinate level, a successful sport benefits from increased funding, but everyone in Rio is focused on their competition.

All participants are the best in their field. First of all, being there is everything. At school it was the certificate of honor. Or the winner's certificate. What is confusing is that honor is better than winning. Aha?! As if Alfons Hörmann invented these national youth games. But even there there is already a classification.

Heart pounding when cheering for fifth place

Why does a decathlete only get one medal - a sprinter gets three? Why can a whole soccer team win just one and a swimmer a handful? Can there be a fair rating in the medal table? No! In the GDR, team sport was kept small because 20 footballers were just as good in the medal classification as half a sprinter. Plus 1.

Those are the cool facts. The emotional aspect of sport is the hope, the fear, but also the medal in the happy ending. And of course I count them. Perhaps it is due to my existence as a decathlete that I am a point-hungry bean counter. What are the demands of a performance society? I think we got there a long time ago, that we keep our fingers crossed for a refreshing fifth. The heart just watches. These are the emotions of sport. Undercooled performance machines are just the lines in the list.

Fortunately, the days of palm branches are over

But we need the incentive of those damn medals. We and the athletes need this goal. Sport is sometimes tough and it stipulates that fourth place is the supposedly ungrateful. But that is only possible if you have planned a medal beforehand. And then it's really crap. Because you reached the goal below value. Then the athlete does not appear as a line in the medal table. Don't scratch it. Rather, it annoys him that he himself did not achieve his set goal.

So, let's count the medals, but don't forget all the fighters and honorable winners who are sincere and passionate about doing the best they can.

P.S .: And as far as I know, the Olympic champions in antiquity only got a palm branch - okay, and tax exemptions, gifts, a big funeral, etc. too - but the other places were completely empty. It's somehow more humane with today's storytelling.