One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An athletic event, in particular one for women, in which each competitor takes part in the same prescribed seven events (100 metres hurdles, high jump, shot-put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin, and 800 metres).
- ‘She took home the gold medal in the heptathlon at the 1998 Goodwill Games in what was to be her last competition; she retired soon thereafter’
- ‘Yelena Prokhorova won the heptathlon in thrilling fashion, with stellar performances in the javelin and 800m.’
- ‘She proved that at last year's Sydney Olympics, winning a gold medal in the heptathlon, the gruelling seven-discipline event that requires athletes to be experts in everything from hurdles to the shot put.’
- ‘By the time Eunice Barber came onto the long jump stage she has been outclassed in the heptathlon by a 20-year-old Swede.’
- ‘Seventeen-year-old Max Hall gained his first British title, competing in the under-20 men's heptathlon.’
- ‘Kelly Sotherton fought her way back into medal contention last night with a gutsy run in the 200 metres, the fourth event of the two-day heptathlon, at the World Championships here.’
- ‘Last year, she had two no-jumps in the long jump during the heptathlon at the World Athletics Championships.’
- ‘The Briton has not competed in a heptathlon since her Sydney 2000 triumph, after taking time out for the birth of her daughter.’
- ‘Lewis' gold in the heptathlon in Sydney was one of six athletics medals for Britain.’
- ‘When the championships re-crossed the Atlantic to Canada in 1993 the heptathlon and pentathlon were added to the list of events.’
- ‘The second gold came in her favourite event - the heptathlon - where also her arch rival, Soma Biswas, of Bengal dropped out after making an appearance on the first day.’
- ‘Sotherton is actually an all-rounder, with an Olympic heptathlon bronze medal to show for it.’
- ‘Denise Lewis thought about dropping out of the heptathlon with two events remaining because of a foot injury.’
- ‘With little at stake for other athletes, Pramila remained the focus in heptathlon, while the decathlon events had to be cancelled after all the three competitors in fray pulled out at one stage or the other.’
- ‘Synchronized swimming was held for the first time; other Olympic debuts were women's 400 meters hurdles and the heptathlon, replacing the pentathlon.’
- ‘‘It's very rare in the heptathlon for an athlete to produce seven great events,’ she said.’
- ‘The heptathlon is the toughest event in women's athletics.’
- ‘Having already guaranteed her world place, Britain's top female all-rounder is sharpening up for the Helsinki heptathlon by competing in four events.’
- ‘With him were his wife, Olga, an athlete who had also represented the Soviet Union in the pentathlon and heptathlon, and their two children.’
- ‘A year ago, while Sotherton was dithering over whether to quit her job as a debt collector and train full-time for the heptathlon, her mother advised her to take the plunge.’
1970s: from hepta- ‘seven’ + Greek athlon ‘contest’, on the pattern of words such as decathlon.
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